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John  Charles 

^^^<!e-<*^*-C— 'T*-^^ 


The  Bear  Flag  Revolt 
and  the  Court-Martial 


"He  had  no  outward  indications  of  tne  -a 

mountain  traveller  about  him;  all  was 
quiet,  tvell  bred,  and  retireing.  .  .  .  Yet  in 
his  eye.  you  saw  something  which  shewed 
contempt  of  danger  and  proclaimed  him 
a  man  to  be  obeyed  under  all  circum- 
stances."—xht  artist  Alfred  S.  Waugh 


John  Charles  Fremont 

Volume  2 :  The  Bear  Flag  Revolt 
and  the  Court-Martial 


Beginning  with  his  third  CaHfornia  ex- 
pedition of  1845— a  time  of  glory  for  Fre- 
mont— and  concluding  in  the  spring  of 
1848  with  his  bitter  resignation  from  the 
Army,  this  volume  covers  a  pivotal  por- 
tion of  the  career  of  one  of  the  most  ac- 
claimed travelers  of  the  nineteenth-century 

From  1845  to  1848,  Fremont  became  in- 
volved in  the  political  activity  and  in- 
trigue which  led  to  his  famous  court-mar- 
tial iri  1848 — a  "Dreyfus  case,"  his  wife 
wrote  later.  Fremont's  third  California  ex- 
pedition, his  participation  in  the  Bear  Flag 
Revolt  of  1846,  his  command  of  the  Cali- 
fornia Battalion,  and  his  seven  weeks  as 
governor  (during  which  time  he  defied 
the  military  authority  of  Stephen  Watts 
Kearny)  are  all  covered  by  the  documents 
in  this  volume.  They  point  to  Fremont's 
continued  interest  in  the  topography  and 
flora  of  the  West  (he  sent  cases  of  plants 
by  sea  to  botanist  John  Torrey),  his  some- 
times insensitive  treatment  of  the  Indians, 
and  his  relationships  with  many  promi- 
nent figures,  including  Robert  F.  Stock- 
ton, Thomas  O.  Larkin,  Mariano  G.  Val- 
lejo,  Kit  Carson,  and  Thomas  H.  Benton. 

{Continued  on  bac\  flap) 


John  Charles  Fremont 

John  Charles  Fremont  as  he  looked  about   1849.   From  a   print   in 
Walter  Colton's  Three  Years  in  California  (New  York,  1850). 


John  Charles 

VOLUME    2 

The  Bear  Flag  Revolt 
and  the  Court-Martial 




John  Charles  Fremont 


Herman  R.  Friis 
Robert  W.  Johannsen 

©  1973  by  the  Board  of  Trustees  of  the  University  of  Illinois. 

Manufactured  in  the  United  States  of  America. 

Library  of  Congress  Catalog  Card  No.  73-100374. 

ISBN  0-252-00249-0 


As  in  Volume  1,  we  find  it  impossible  to  thank  by  name  the  many 
scholars  and  librarians  who  have  given  us  assistance  in  preparing 
the  present  volume.  We  do  wish  to  acknowledge,  however,  the  con- 
tinuing support  of  the  National  Historical  Publications  Commission, 
the  Research  Board  of  the  University  of  Illinois,  and  the  staff  of  the 
University  of  Illinois  Press.  We  are  grateful  to  Miss  Jessie  Fremont, 
Washington,  D.C.,  the  granddaughter  of  John  Charles  and  Jessie 
Benton  Fremont,  for  permission  to  use  family  papers. 

During  the  preparation  of  the  work,  two  distinguished  members 
of  our  Advisory  Committee  died:  Allan  Nevins  and  Dale  L.  Mor- 
gan. Each  was  enthusiastic  about  the  project,  and  each  brought  his 
own  kind  of  expertise  to  our  aid  on  many  occasions. 

The  role  of  Donald  Jackson  has  been  secondary  in  the  preparation 
of  this  volume.  He  has  served  mainly  as  an  advisor,  while  the  re- 
search and  writing  has  been  done  by  Mary  Lee  Spence. 



Introduction  xix 

Symbols  li 

The  1845  Expedition  and  the  Clash  with  the  Californians 

1.  excerpt  from  the  Memoirs,  [26  may- 16  aug.  1845]  3 

2.  FREMONT  TO  JAMES  W.  ABERT,   I5  AUG.   1845  II 

3.  EXCERPT  FROM  THE  McmoirS,   [  16  AUG.   1845-24  JAN.   1846]  I3 

4.  fremont  to  jessie  b.  fremont,  24  jan.  1846  46 

5.  journal  of  edward  m.  kern  of  an  exploration  of  the 
Mary's  or  humboldt  river,  carson  lake,  and  owens  river 

and  lake,  in  1845  [5  nov.  1845-i5  feb.  1846]  48 

6.  EXCERPT  FROM  THE  McmoirS,   [24   JAN.-20  FEB.   1846]  63 

7.  FREMONT  TO  JOSE  DOLORES  PACHECO,  21  FEB.  1846  68 

8.  EXCERPT  FROM  THE  McmoirS,  [22  FEB.-3  MARCH  1846]  70 



11.  JOSE  CASTRO  TO  FREMONT,  5  MARCH  1846  74 

12.  MANUEL  DE  JESUS  CASTRO  TO  FREMONT,  5  MARCH   1 846  75 


JESUS  CASTRO,  6  MARCH  1 846  76 


8  MARCH  1846  77 



17.  JOSE  CASTRo's  PROCLAMATION,  8  MARCH  1846  81 

18.  FREMONT  TO  THOMAS  OLIVER  LARKIN,  [q  MARCH  1 846]  8 1 

19.  THOMAS  OLIVER  LARKIN  TO  FREMONT,  10  MARCH   1846  83 


21.  JOSE  CASTRo's  PROCLAMATION,  1 3  MARCH  1846  85 

22.  EXCERPT  FROM  THE  McmoirS,  [9  MARCH-24  MAY   1 846]  85 


23.  charles  william  flugge  to  fremont,  26  march  1 846  i28 

24.  fremont  to  jessie  b.  fremont,  i  april  1846  i29 

25.  fremont  to  james  clyman,  [ april?  1846]  i3i 

26.  fremont  to  william  a.  leidesdorff,  23  april  1 846  i32 

The  Bear  Flag  Revolt  and  the  Conquest  of  California 

27.  fremont  to  thomas  oliver  larkin,  24  may  1846  i37 

28.  fremont  to  thomas  h.  benton,  24  may  1846  137 

29.  fremont  to  archibald  h.  gillespie,  25  may  1846  i39 

30.  thomas  oliver  larkin  to  fremont,  3i  may  1846  i4o 

31.  john  b.  montgomery  to  fremont,  3  june  1846  i43 

32.  john  b.  montgomery  to  fremont,  10  june  1846  i46 

33.  jessie  b.  fremont  to  fremont,  16  june  1846  i47 

34.  fremont  to  john  b.  montgomery,  16  june  1846  i5i 

35.  john  b.  montgomery  to  fremont,  23  june  1846  1 55 

36.  Fremont's  commission  as  lieutenant  colonel, 

26  JUNE  1846  159 

37.  JOHN  B.  MONTGOMERY  TO  FREMONT,  26  JUNE  1846  160 

38.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  B.  MONTGOMERY,  5  JULY  1846  162 

39.  JOHN  D.  SLOAT  TO  JOHN  B.  MONTGOMERY,  6  JULY  1846  164 

40.  THOMAS  OLIVER  LARKIN  TO  FREMONT,  7  JULY  1846  165 

41.  JOHN  B.  MONTGOMERY  TO  FREMONT,  9  JULY  1846  166 

42.  JOHN  D.  SLOAT  TO  FREMONT,  9  JULY  1846  168 

43.  MARIANO  G.  VALLEJO  TO  FREMONT,  [ll   JULY  1846]  I70 

44.  THOMAS  OLIVER  LARKIN  TO  FREMONT,  12  JULY  1 846  I72 

45.  FREMONT  TO  EDWARD  M.  KERN,   12  JULY  1846  I73 

46.  ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,   [22  JULY  1846]  I74 

47.  ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,  23  JULY   1846  I77 

48.  ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,  23  JULY  1846  178 

49.  THOMAS  OLIVER  LARKIN  TO  FREMONT,  24  JULY  1 846  1 79 

50.  FREMONT  TO  WILLIAM  A.  LEIDESDORFF,  24  JULY  1846  180 

51.  FREMONT  TO  ARCHIBALD  H.  GILLESPIE,  25  JULY   [  1846]  180 

52.  FREMONT  TO  THOMAS  H.  BENTON,  25  JULY  1846  181 

53.  FREMONT  TO  SAMUEL  F.  DU  PONT,  3  AUG.  1846  187 

54.  ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,  6  AUG.  1846  188 

55.  ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,  9  AUG.  1846  I9O 

56.  ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,  24  AUG.   1 846  I92 


57-  robert  f.  stockton  to  james  k.  polk,  26  aug.  1 846  193 

58.  robert  f.  stockton  to  fremont,  t]  aug.  1846  i96 

59.  robert  f.  stockton  to  fremont,  3i  aug.  1846  i98 

60.  robert  f.  stockton  to  fremont,  i  sept.  1846  i99 

61.  Fremont's  appointment  as  military  commandant, 

2  SEPT.  [1846]  200 

62.  ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,  4  SEPT.  1846  201 

63.  FREMONT  TO  PIERSON  B.  READING,  4  SEPT.  1846  201 

64.  FREMONT  TO  ARCHIBALD  H.  GILLESPIE,  7  SEPT.   1846  202 

65.  FREMONT  TO  THOMAS  OLIVER  LARKIN,   [sEPT.  ?    1846]  2O3 
(£.   ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,  28  SEPT.  1846  2O4 

67.  ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,  I  OCT.  1 846  2o6 

68.  FREMONT  TO  EDWARD  M.  KERN,  4  OCT.   [1846]  2o6 

69.  FREMONT  TO  EDWARD  M.  KERN,  7  OCT.  1 846  207 

70.  ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,  1 3  OCT.  1 846  2o8 

71.  FREMONT  TO  WILLIAM  A.  LEIDESDORFF,  I4  OCT.  1846  2o8 

72.  FREMONT  TO  EDWARD  M.  KERN,  22  OCT.  1 846  2O9 

73.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  B.  MONTGOMERY,  22  OCT.  1846  210 

74.  CHARLES  D.  BURRASS  TO  FREMONT,  26  OCT.  1846  211 

75.  FREMONT  TO  ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON,  [27  OCT.  1846]  211 

76.  JOHN  B.  MONTGOMERY  TO  FREMONT,  29  OCT.  1846  212 

77.  FREMONT  TO  EDWARD  M.  KERN,  3O  OCT.  1 846  2I4 

78.  JOHN  B.  MONTGOMERY  TO  FREMONT,  3  NOV.  1846  214 

79.  JOHN  B.  MONTGOMERY  TO  FREMONT,  4  NOV.  1846  215 



82.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  B.  MONTGOMERY,   10  NOV.  1846  220 

83.  JOHN  B.  MONTGOMERY  TO  FREMONT,  1 3  NOV.  1 846  222 

84.  WILLIAM  MERVINE  TO  FREMONT,  I4  NOV.  1846  224 

85.  FREMONT  TO  WILLIAM  MERVINE,  I4  NOV.  1846  225 

86.  WILLIAM  MERVINE  TO  FREMONT,   1 5  NOV.  1846  226 

87.  FREMONT  TO  WILLIAM  MERVINE,  16  NOV.   1 846  227 

88.  WILLIAM  MERVINE  TO  FREMONT,   16  NOV.  1846  228 

89.  FREMONT  TO  CHARLES  M.  WEBER,  I9  NOV.  1846  229 

90.  FREMONT  TO  EDWARD  M.  KERN,  20  NOV.  1846  229 

91.  WILLIAM   MERVINE  TO  FREMONT,  21   NOV.  1846  232 

92.  FREMONT  TO  WILLIAM   MERVINE,  27  NOV.  1 846  233 


93-    EXCERPT  FROM  THE  McmOirS,  [28  NOV.   1846-I3  JAN.  1847]         234 


22  DEC.    1846  241 


23  DEC.   1846  243 


23  DEC.   1846  246 


24  DEC.    1846  246 

98.  robert  f.  stockton  to  fremont,  24  dec.  1846  247 

99.  fremont  to  edward  a.  selden,  2  jan.  1847  ^4^ 
100.  fremont  to  robert  f.  stockton,  2  jan.  1847  249 
loi.  robert  f.  stockton  to  fremont,  3  jan.  1847  249 

102.  stephen  watts  kearny  to  fremont,  10  jan.  [1847]  25o 

103.  Fremont's  proclamation,  12  jan.  1847  251 

104.  stephen  watts  kearny  to  fremont,  12  jan.  1847  252 

105.  stephen  watts  kearny  to  robert  f.  stockton, 

13  JAN.  1847  252 

106.  ARTICLES  OF  CAPITULATION,  I3  JAN.  1847  253 

107.  STEPHEN  WATTS  KEARNY  TO  FREMONT,    I3  JAN.  1847  255 

108.  STEPHEN   WATTS  KEARNY  TO  FREMONT,    I3  JAN.  1847  257 

109.  FREMONT  TO  STEPHEN  WATTS  KEARNY,  I3  JAN.  [1847]  ^57 


16  JAN.   1847  259 

The  Quarrel  with  Stephen  Watts  Kearny 


16  JAN.   1847  263 


16  JAN.   1847  264 

113.  william  h.  emory  to  fremont,  16  jan.  1847  265 

114.  Fremont's  appointment  as  governor,  i6  jan.  1847  267 

115.  stephen  watts  kearny  to  fremont,  i7  jan.  |  1847i  268 

116.  fremont  to  stephen  watts  kearny,  i7  jan.  1847  268 

1 17.  stephen  watts  kearny  to  robert  f.  stockton, 

17  JAN.   1847  270 

118.  FREMONT  TO  WILLIAM  A.  T.   MADDOX,    I7   JAN.   1847  27I 

119.  ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,   I9  JAN.   1847  272 

120.  FREMONT  TO  ABEL  STEARNS  Ct  a!.,  21   JAN.  1847  273 

121.  FREMONT  TO  FELIPE  LUGO  Ct  ol.,  21  JAN.  1847  274 

122.  Fremont's  circular,  22  jan.  1847  275 

123.  fremont  to  mariano  g.  vallejo,  22  jan.  1847  276 

124.  john  grigsby  to  fremont,  22  jan.  1847  277 

125.  fremont  to  pierson  b.  reading,  23  jan.  1847  277 

126.  fremont  to  pierson  b.  reading,  23  jan.  1847  278 

127.  fremont  to  juan  bandini,  23  jan.  1847  -7^ 

128.  fremont  to  john  temple,  25  jan.  1847  279 

129.  fremont  to  john  k.  wilson,  25  jan.  1847  280 

130.  john  b.  montgomery  to  fremont,  26  jan.  1847  280 

131.  fremont  to  thomas  h.  benton,  [3  feb.  1847]  281 
i  ^2.  william  speiden  to  fremont,  4  feb.  1847  ^^4 
13:5.  fremont  to  antonio  jose  cot,  4  feb.  1847  285 

I  ^4.    THEODORE  TALBOT  et  al.  TO  FREMONT,  4  FEB.   1847  ^^7 

135.  FREMONT  TO  LOUIS  MC  LANE,  5  FEB.   1847  ^9^ 

136.  FREMONT  TO  JAMES  BUCHANAN,  6  FEB.   [  1847]  292 

137.  FREMONT  TO  W.  BRANFORD  SHUBRICK,  7  FEB.   1847  295 

138.  JUAN  B.  ALVARADO  TO  FREMONT,  10  FEB.  1847  297 
1:59.    FREMONT  TO  WILL.ARD  P.  HALL,  1 1   FEB.   1847  3^^ 

140.  JACOB  R.  SN'iT)ER  TO  EDWARD  M.  KERN,  II  FEB.  1847  302 

141.  W.  BRANFORD  SHUBRICK  TO  FREMONT,   I3  FEB.   1847  302 

142.  MARIANO  G.  VALLEJO  TO  FREMONT,  I5  FEB.  1847  3*^4 
14:5.    ROBERT  F.  STOCKTON  TO  FREMONT,   16  FEB.   1847  3O5 

144.  FREMONT  TO  PIERSON  B.  READING,  16  FEB.   1847  306 

145.  FREMONT  TO  ARCHIBALD  H.  GILLESPIE,  I7  FEB.   1847  306 

146.  FREMONT  TO  JACOB  R.  SNYDER,  22  FEB.  1847  307 

147.  W.  BRANFORD  SHUBRICK  TO  FREMONT,  23  FEB.   1847  308 



150.  SHUBRICK-KEARNY  CIRCULAR,  I   MARCH   1 847  313 


152.  FREMONT  TO  PIERSON  B.  READING,  2  NL\RCH    1847  316 


2  MARCH   1847  3^7 

154.  FREMONT  TO  EULOGIO  DE  CELIS,  3  M.\RCH  1847  318 


155-  fremont  to  archibald  h.  gillespie,  5  march  1847  3^^ 

156.  Fremont's  circular,  9  march  1847  3^9 

157.  philip  st.  george  cooke  to  fremont,  i4  march  1847  32o 

158.  fremont  to  richard  owens,  i5  march  1847  3^0 

159.  israel  brockman  to  fremont,  1 5  march  1 847  322 

160.  william   h.  russell  to  philip  st.  george  cooke, 

16  MARCH  1847  323 

161.  THOMAS  OLIVER  LARKIN  TO  FREMONT,  1 6  MARCH  1 847  324 

162.  THOMAS  OLIVER  LARKIN  TO  FREMONT,   16  MARCH  1847  325 

163.  CITIZENS  OF  LOS  ANGELES  TO  FREMONT,  18  MARCH  1847  3^5 

164.  FREMONT  TO  WILLIAM  WORKMAN,  20  MARCH  1847  327 


21  MARCH  1847  3^^ 


27  MARCH   1847  33° 

167.  STEPHEN  WATTS  KEARNY  TO  FREMONT,  28  MARCH  1847  33^ 

168.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  FREMONT,  5  APRIL   1 847  332 

169.  FREMONT  TO  RICHARD  B.  MASON,  J  APRIL  1847  332 

170.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  FREMONT,  7  APRIL  1847  334 

171.  FREMONT  TO  RICHARD  B.  MASON,  8  APRIL   1 847  336 

172.  FREMONT  TO  RICHARD  B.  MASON,  8  APRIL   1 847  336 

173.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  FREMONT,  8  APRIL   1 847  337 

174.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  FREMONT,  8  APRIL   1847  338 

175.  FREMONT  TO  RICHARD  B.  MASON,  8  APRIL   1 847  338 

176.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  FREMONT,  8  APRIL   1 847  339 

177.  FREMONT  TO  RICHARD  B.  MASON,  9  APRIL   1847  34O 

178.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  FREMONT,  9  APRIL  1847  34° 

179.  FREMONT  TO  RICHARD  B.  MASON,  9  APRIL  1847  34^ 


10  APRIL  1847  343 

181.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  FREMONT,  12  APRIL  1847  345 

182.  FREMONT  TO  RICHARD  B.  MASON,  I3  APRIL  1847  345 

183.  FREMONT  TO  RICHARD  B.  MASON,  I4  APRIL  1847  346 

184.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  FREMONT,  I4  APRIL  1847  347 

185.  FREMONT  TO  RICHARD  B.  MASON,  I4  APRIL   1847  348 

186.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  FREMONT,   I5  APRIL   1847  348 


187.  FREMONT  TO  RICHARD  B.  MASON,  1 5  APRIL  1 847  349 


[APRIL  1847]  349 


23  APRIL  1847  350 

190.  STEPHEN  WATTS  KEARNY  TO  FREMONT,  4  MAY  1 847  35O 

191.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  FREMONT,  I9  MAY  1847  351 

192.  FREMONT  TO  ABEL  STEARNS,  I9  MAY  1847  353 

193.  FREMONT  TO  RICHARD  B.  MASON,  22  MAY  1847  354 

194.  ABEL  STEARNS  TO  FREMONT,  23  MAY  1847  356 

195.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  FREMONT,  24  MAY  1847  357 

196.  PIERSON  B.  READING  TO  FREMONT,  27  MAY   1847  358 

197.  lOTH  MILITARY  DEPARTMENT  ORDERS  NO.  I9,  29  MAY  1847  359 

198.  FREMONT  TO  J.  J.  ABERT,  29  MAY  1847  360 

199.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  II   JUNE  1 847  360 

200.  JAMES  BUCHANAN  TO  FREMONT,  II   JUNE  1 847  362 

201.  JESSIE  B.  FREMONT  TO  FREMONT,  [CA.   I4  JUNE  1847]  364 

202.  THOMAS  H.  BENTON  TO  ROGER  JONES,  I4  JUNE  1847  364 

203.  FREMONT  TO  STEPHEN  WATTS  KEARNY,  I4  JUNE  1847  366 

204.  STEPHEN  WATTS  KEARNY  TO  FREMONT,   I4  JUNE  1847  368 

205.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  ROGER  JONES,  21   JUNE  1847  369 

206.  THOMAS  H.  BENTON  TO  FREMONT,  22  JUNE  1 847  370 

The  Arrest  and  Court-Martial  of  Fremont 

FREMONT,  22  AUG.  1 847  375 

208.  THOMAS  H.  BENTON  TO  ROGER  JONES,  22  AUG.  1847  376 

209.  ROGER  JONES  TO  THOMAS  H.  BENTON,  24  AUG.  1847  376 

210.  FREMONT  TO  THE  CITIZENS  OF  ST.  LOUIS,  30  AUG.  1847  377 

211.  THOMAS  H.  BENTON  TO  F.  R.  CONWAY,  3  SEPT.  1847  379 

212.  THOMAS  H.  BENTON  TO  JAMES  K.  POLK,  10  SEPT.  1847  380 

213.  ALBERT  GALLATIN  TO  FREMONT,  1 5  SEPT.   1 847  38 1 

214.  FREMONT  TO  ROGER  JONES,   I7  SEPT.  1847  383 

215.  JESSIE  B.  FREMONT  TO  ALBERT  GALLATIN,  20  SEPT.   1847  386 

216.  FREMONT  TO  ROGER  JONES,  20  SEPT.  1 847  3^0 

217.  JESSIE  B.  FREMONT  TO  EDWARD  F.  BEALE,  20  SEPT.  1 847  387 


218.  JESSIE  B.  FREMONT  TO  JAMES  K.  POLK,  21  SEPT.  1847  388 


21  SEPT.  1847  390 

220.  ROGER  JONES  TO  FREMONT,  27  SEPT.  1 847  393 

221.  FREMONT  TO  ROGER  JONES,  27  SEPT.   1847  394 

222.  WILLIAM  L.  MARCY  TO  FREMONT,  27  SEPT.   1 847  396 

223.  FREMONT  TO  WILLIAM  L.  MARCY,  28  SEPT.  1847  397 

224.  THOMAS  H.  BENTON  TO  FREMONT,  3  OCT.   1847  4OO 

225.  FREMONT  TO  WILLIAM  L.  MARCY,  4  OCT.   1 847  4OI 

226.  WILLIAM  L.  MARCY  TO  FREMONT,  6  OCT.   1847  4O2 

227.  THOMAS  H.  BENTON  TO  FREMONT,  7  OCT.   1 847  4O3 

228.  THOMAS  H.  BENTON  TO  FREMONT,   |  8  OCT.   1847]  405 

229.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  8  OCT.   1 847  406 

230.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  9  OCT.   1 847  406 

231.  RICHARD  B.  MASON  TO  ROGER  JONES,  9  OCT.   1847  407 

232.  FREMONT  TO  ALBERT  GALLATIN,    10  OCT.   1847  422 

233.  FREMONT  TO  ROGER  JONES,   II  OCT.   1847  423 

234.  JOSEPH  L.  FOLSOM  TO  WILLIAM  T.  SHERMAN,  12  OCT.   1847  424 

235.  ROGER  JONES  TO  FREMONT,  1 3  OCT.   1 847  426 

236.  FREMONT  TO  WILLIAM  L.  MARCY,   I3  OCT.   1847  4^7 

237.  ALBERT  GALLATIN  TO  FREMONT,   I4  OCT.   1847  43^ 

238.  THOMAS  H.  BENTON  TO  FREMONT,  I4  OCT.   1847  43^ 


15  OCT.   1847  432 

240.  WILLIAM  L.  MARCY  TO  FREMONT,    15  OCT.   1847  434 

241.  THOMAS   H.   BENTON  TO  ROGER   JONES,    [25]  OCT.   1847  435 

242.  THOMAS    H.    BENTON    AND   WILLIAM    C.    JONES   TO 

ROGER  JONES,  25  OCT.  1 847  435 

243.  ROGER  JONES  TO  FREMONT,  26  OCT.   1847  444 

244.  FREMONT  TO  ROGER   JONES,   26  OCT.   1 847  444 

245.  FREMONT  TO   PIERSON   B.   READING,  26  OCT.   1847  445 

246.  FREMONT  TO  JACOB  R.  SNYDER,  26  OCT.   1 847  448 

247.  FREMONT  TO  ABEL  STEARNS,   26  OCT.   1847  449 

248.  ROGER    JONES   TO   THOMAS    H.    BENTON    AND 

WILLIAM  C.  JONES,  27  OCT.  1 847  451 

249.  THOMAS    H.    BENTON    AND   WILLIAM    C.    JONES    TO 

ROGER  JONES,  27  OCT.   1847  453 


250.  roger  jones  to  thomas  h.  benton  and 

william  c.  jones,  28  oct.  1 847  454 

251.  fremont  to  john  torrey,  i  nov.  1847  454 

252.  thomas  h.  benton  and  william  c.  jones  to 

roger  jones,  3  nov.  1 847  455 

253.  fremont  to  henry  h.  sibley,  5  nov.  1847  456 

254.  roger  jones  to  fremont,  6  nov.  1847  457 

255.  thomas  h.  benton  and  william  c.  jones  to 

roger  jones,  9  nov.  1 847  457 

256.  roger  jones  to  fremont,  10  nov.  1847  458 

257.  fremont  to  roger  jones,  ii  nov.  1847  459 

258.  roger  jones  to  thomas  h.  benton  and 

william  c.  jones,  ii  nov.  1847  459 

259.  j.  j.  abert  to  fremont,  26  nov.  1 847  461 

260.  thomas  h.  benton  to  roger  jones,  24  dec.  1 847  462 

261.  thomas  h.  benton  to  roger  jones,  29  dec.  1 847  464 

262.  thomas  h.  benton  and  william  c.  jones  to 

roger  jones,  6  jan.  1848  464 

263.  Fremont's  petition  to  congress,  [27  jan.  1848]  466 

264.  JOHN  F.  LEE  TO  ROGER  JONES,  I  FEB.  1848  468 

265.  Fremont's  deposition,  [5  feb.  1848]  469 

266.  fremont  to  harris  wilson,  8  feb.  1848  476 

267.  thomas  h.  benton  to  james  buchanan,  [18  feb.  1848]  477 

268.  fremont  to  roger  jones,  i9  feb.  1848  478 

269.  fremont  to  john  torrey,  24  feb.  1848  479 

270.  fremont  to  john  torrey,  24  feb.  1848  479 

271.  fremont  to  james  buchanan,  i  march  1848  480 

272.  fremont  to  john  torrey,  2  march  1848  481 

273.  james  buchanan  to  fremont,  2  march  1848  482 

274.  fremont  to  lewis  j.  cist,  3  march  1 848  482 

275.  fremont  to  james  buchanan,  7  march  1848  483 

276.  fremont  to  john  torrey,  12  march  1848  483 

277.  fremont  to  roger  jones,  i4  march  1848  486 

278.  william  g.  freeman  to  fremont,  1 5  march  1 848  486 

Appendix:  Roster  of  1845-47  Expedition  487 

Bibliography  491 

Index  503 



J<}^i  Ch9TfO  ^ 

MOVJNiC  CAM?  *5>ff 


lAMm  $aqt;js!Daj  ^^ 


JOHN'  »JE«JRJ£N'  MOfCTtaOMiarr  '^^ 


«trm*'$  K«T  AB<>UT  X846  '"" 

MQNTEoRJEy  ASQUT  1846  ^"^ 



fkImont's  caufqrnia  ,  iS^S  fjf^i  -po^  236 









When  John  C.  Fremont  angrily  resigned  from  the  Army  in  the 
spring  of  1848,  telling  botanist  John  Torrey  that  he  hoped'  the  gov- 
ernment would  continue  to  finance  his  scientific  exploration  even 
though  he  was  now  a  civilian,  he  was  looking  back  upon  three  years 
of  tumult,  intrigue,  and  bitterness.  Those  three  years  are  spanned 
by  the  documents  in  this  volume. 

The  period  1845-48  seemed  to  bring  into  focus  the  restlessness 
of  American  emigrants,  with  Oregon,  Texas,  and  the  Mexican 
borderlands  all  added  to  the  Union.  For  Fremont  they  were  pivotal 
years.  Once  again  he  had  turned  his  talents  to  the  exploration  of  the 
Far  West,  this  time  mixing  political  activity  with  scientific  observa- 
tion. His  defiance  of  the  military  authority  of  Stephen  Watts  Kearny 
in  California  brought  the  exhausting  experience  of  a  court-martial, 
and  later  historians,  among  them  Hubert  Howe  Bancroft  and 
Bernard  DeVoto,  would  label  him  a  filibuster  and  adventurer,  call- 
ing into  question  not  onlv  his  conduct  as  an  officer  but  also  his 
character  and  honesty  of  purpose.^  Harvard  historian  and  philoso- 
pher Josiah  Royce  cast  no  epithets,  but  he  charged  Fremont  with 
bringing  a  needless  war  into  California  and  creating  an  estrange- 
ment between  Mexicans  and  Americans  which  all  his  subsequent 
generosity  and  kindness  could  not  eradicate.  "From  the  Bear  Flag 
Affair,"  wrote  Royce,  "we  can  date  the  beginning  of  the  degrada- 
tion, the  ruin,  and  the  oppression  of  the  California  people  bv  our 



It  may  be  that  publication  of  these  documents,  including  the 
transcript  of  the  long  court-martial  proceedings  in  a  supplementary 
volume,  will  provide  further  insight  into  California  affairs,  although 
clear-cut  answers  do  not  always  appear.  There  are  knotty  questions 
about  secret  instructions  or  lack  of  instructions.  Many  documents 

1  BANCROFT,  5:85-100;  de  voto,  197-201,  222-29.  470-77. 

2  ROYCE  [1],  50-162  and  particularly  111-12. 


have  not  survived;  those  which  have  are  sometimes  contradictory 
and,  perhaps  dehberately,  obscure  in  wording. 

No  one  should  try  to  understand  the  Cahfornia  of  1845-48,  and 
the  men  who  played  leading  roles  there,  without  a  thorough  reading 
of  the  court-martial  proceedings.  It  is  hard  to  escape  the  conclusion 
that  some  historians  of  the  period  have  not  done  so.  One  can  ad- 
mire Fremont's  intrepidity  as  an  explorer  and  his  expertness  as  a 
geographer  without  particularly  liking  his  ambition,  his  vanity,  and 
his  reliance  upon  his  father-in-law  for  professional  advancement. 
One  can  say,  and  many  do,  that  John  Charles  and  Jessie  were  a 
team  of  myth  makers  and  empire  builders.  Yet  the  documents, 
when  they  are  not  aggravatingly  silent,  speak  constantly  to  the 
point  that  in  the  California  episode  Fremont  was  as  often  right  as 
wrong.  And  even  a  cursory  investigation  of  the  court-martial  record 
produces  one  undeniable  conclusion:  neither  side  in  the  controversy 
acquitted  itself  with  distinction. 

What  is  required  first,  for  an  understanding  of  the  whole  matter, 
is  a  glance  at  the  mood  of  the  country,  at  Fremont's  orders,  and  at 
the  nature  of  the  third  expedition  itself.  Early  in  1845  Congress  had 
voted  to  annex  Texas,  that  vast  domain  seized  from  a  weak  Mexico 
by  hardy  American  settlers.  Already  a  handful  of  venturesome 
Americans  had  established  themselves  in  California;  thousands  of 
pioneers  were  wheeling  along  the  Oregon  Trail  toward  the  green 
Willamette  Valley;  soon  the  Mormon  Saints  would  establish  their 
new  Zion  in  the  Great  Basin  of  Utah. 

Claimed  by  both  the  United  States  and  England,  the  Oregon 
country  had  been  opened  to  settlement  under  the  1827  Treaty  of 
Joint  Occupation,  an  extension  of  the  earlier  agreement  of  1818.  Not 
unexpectedly,  American  homeseekers  won  the  battle  of  the  census 
and  soon  came  to  predominate,  their  growing  numbers  along  the 
Willamette  demanding  the  establishment  of  a  stable  government  by 
the  United  States.  Although  the  British  minister  in  Washington 
had  rejected  President  James  K.  Polk's  oflfer  to  divide  the  country 
at  the  forty-ninth  parallel,  Polk,  in  his  annual  message  to  Congress 
at  the  end  of  1845,  asked  for  power  to  abrogate  the  Treaty  of  Joint 
Occupation  and  extend  protection  of  American  law  over  settlers 
in  the  Oregon  country.  Not  until  June  1846  did  the  formal  British 
oflfer  to  settle  on  the  forty-ninth  parallel  reach  Washington,  but 
even  this  did  not  dispel  all  distrust  of  the  British.  Several  months 
later  Thomas  Hart  Benton  received  a  letter  from  Fremont  describ- 


ing  an  attack  upon  him  in  Oregon  by  Klamath  Indians  supphed 
with  tomahawks  and  iron  arrowheads  by  the  British,  and  suggest- 
ing that  Secretary  of  State  James  Buchanan's  attention  be  called  to 
the  fact  that  the  Indians  were  "friendly"  to  the  English  and  "un- 
friendly" to  the  Americans.  Fremont's  letter  in  a  sense  typified  the 
fear  of  Great  Britain,  which  had  smoldered  since  the  days  of  the 
Revolution  and  the  War  of  1812  and  which  had  been  rekindled  and 
fanned  by  events  of  the  1830s  and  1840s. 

Had  not  England,  for  diplomatic,  economic,  and  humanitarian 
reasons,  flirted  with  an  independent  Texas  ?  Was  it  not  a  rumor — or 
more  than  a  rumor — that  Britain  had  designs  on  California?  It  is 
clear  now  that  such  a  rumor  was  unfounded,  for  the  British  govern- 
ment steadfastly  opposed  expansion  into  California,  partly  because 
it  feared  war  with  the  United  States  and  partly  because  its  "Little 
England"  policy  discouraged  further  expansion  of  the  empire  in 
that  period.  But  it  is  what  government  officials  believe  that  deter- 
mines action,  and  President  Polk  made  his  fear  of  the  British  occu- 
pation of  California  one  of  the  cornerstones  of  his  foreign  policy. 

Yet  his  and  the  country's  mood  was  more  positive  on  the  subject 
of  California.  If  Polk  had  been  elected  on  a  platform  calling  for  the 
"re-annexation  of  Texas  and  the  re-occupation  of  Oregon,"  implicit 
was  an  observable  if  less  blatant  interest  in  the  Pacific  Coast  south 
of  the  Oregon  line.  There  the  tallow  and  hide  trade  had  diminished 
in  importance,  but  not  before  its  Yankee  agents  and  shipmasters 
had  helped  focus  American  attention  on  the  balmy  climate  and 
economic  potential  of  California.  Along  with  a  handful  of  serious 
settlers  and  a  variety  of  mere  travelers,  they  gave  broad  publicity  to 
this  land  where  vast  estates  were  available  almost  for  a  pittance  and 
economic  opportunity  was  unlimited.  In  response,  a  steady  trickle  of 
emigrants  was  coming  overland  in  the  early  forties.  By  1846  Larkin 
estimated  that  three-fourths  of  the  1,000  or  1,200  foreigners  living 
in  California  were  Americans. 

As  these  newcomers  descended  the  western  slopes  of  the  Sierra, 
they  could  not  fail  to  recognize  the  potential  for  political  as  well 
as  material  conquest.  Through  the  years  the  native  Californios  had 
evolved  their  own  pastoral  and  easy  way  of  life — one  indifferent  to 
social  change  and  disrespectful  of  a  government  administered  from 
distant  Mexico  City.  Distance  and  intermittent  turmoil,  both  in  the 
mother  country  and  in  California,  made  for  near  chaos  during  much 
of  the  1830s.  An  able  governor,  Jose  Figueroa,  died  in  1835,  and  then 


came  a  decade  of  internal  strife  typified  by  official  corruption  and 
petty  revolt.  When  Governor  Manuel  Micheltorena  and  his  tough 
cholo  army  were  sent  packing  in  1845,  all  semblance  of  Mexican 
control  went  with  them.  Americans,  not  all  men  of  impeccable 
motives,  quickly  grasped  the  implications.  With  a  little  effort,  might 
not  the  Texas  story  be  repeated  on  the  shores  of  the  Pacific  ?  Were 
not  American  frontiersmen  destined  to  extend  their  brand  of  civili- 
zation from  sea  to  sea,  engulfing  more  static  societies  in  the  process  ? 

Certainly  President  Polk  was  not  averse,  provided  he  had  the 
majority  of  his  constituents  behind  him.  But  he  also  saw  the  need 
to  avoid  open  conflict  with  Mexico  and  not  to  alienate  the  pro- 
American  faction  of  the  Californios.  His  efforts  to  purchase  Cali- 
fornia rebuffed  before  they  had  hardly  commenced,  he  turned  to 
intrigue,  always  with  a  wary  eye  on  the  British.  Thus,  at  about  the 
time  of  Fremont's  departure  from  the  Missouri  frontier,  Commo- 
dore John  D.  Sloat  was  instructed  to  seize  San  Francisco  and  other 
Pacific  ports  if  he  should  determine  "with  certainty"  that  Mexico 
had  declared  war  against  the  United  States.  In  October  of  the  same 
year  Sloat  was  ordered  to  take  control  of  California  "in  the  event 
of  actual  hostilities"  between  the  Mexican  and  American  govern- 
ments, to  communicate  frequently  with  the  U.S.  consul  at  Monterey, 
and  to  divine  as  nearly  as  possible  the  designs  of  the  English  and 
the  French  in  that  region."^  On  the  same  day  that  Sloat's  October 
orders  were  cut,  the  U.S.  consul  at  Monterey,  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin, 
was  appointed  a  confidential  agent  and  instructed  to  "exert  the 
greatest  vigilance  in  discovering  and  defeating  any  attempts  which 
may  be  made  by  Foreign  Governments  to  acquire  a  control"  over 
California.  He  would  not  attempt  to  make  her  a  state,  Buchanan 
informed  Larkin,  but  "if  the  People  should  desire  to  unite  their 
destiny  with  ours,  they  would  be  received  as  brethren,  whenever 
this  can  be  done,  without  affording  Mexico  just  cause  of  com- 

In  the  written  orders  under  which  Fremont  mounted  his  third 
expedition,  no  mention  was  made  of  his  entering  California.  His 
instructions  were,  in  fact,  very  narrow.  The  chief  of  the  Bureau  of 
Topographical  Engineers  directed  him  to  "strike  the  Arkansas  as 

•■*  George  Bancroft  to  John  D.  Sloat.  24   June  and   17  Oct.   1845,  cal.  his. 
soc.  DOCS.,  2:164-65. 

^  Buchanan  to  Larkin,  17  Oct.  1845,  larkin,  4:44-47. 


soon  as  practicable,  survey  the  Red  River  vv^ithout  our  boundary 
line,  noting  particularly   the   navigable   properties   of  each,"   and 
"determine  as  near  as  practicable  the  points  at  which  the  boundary 
line  of  the  U.S.  the  100th  degree  of  longitude  west  of  Greenwich 
strikes  the  Arkansas,  and  the  Red  River."  It  was  important  that  the 
headwaters  of  the  Arkansas  be  accurately  determined,  but  long 
journeys  should  not  be  taken  to  determine  isolated  geographical 
points.  In  short,  Fremont  was  to  direct  his  efforts  "to  the  geography 
of  localities  within  reasonable  distance  of  Bent's  Fort  and  of  the 
streams  which  run  east  from  the  Rocky  Mountains."  Later  instruc- 
tions permitted  him  to  increase  the  size  of  his  party,  to  detach  a 
subgroup  to  explore  the  southern  Rockies,  and  to  pay  some  atten- 
tion to  the  military  aspects  of  the  country.  But  a  letter  dated  14 
May  1845  may  be  taken  as  an  indication  that  the  chief  of  the  Topo- 
graphical Bureau  understood  that  Fremont's  explorations  would  be 
more  extensive  than  outlined  by  the  official  orders.  He  directed 
Fremont  to  have  Lieut.  James  W.  Abert  return  with  his  detachment 
to  the  United  States  as  soon  as  practicable  "in  order  that  expenses 
of  the  expedition  may  be  reduced,  and  funds  be  left  to  meet  the 
events  of  your  own  efforts  for  more  distant  discoveries." 

But  there  is  still  no  mention  of  California,  and  when  Fremont 
wrote  in  his  Memoirs  that  it  was  decided  "to  extend  the  survey  west 
and  southwest  to  the  examination  of  the  great  ranges  of  the  Cascade 
Mountains  and  the  Sierra  Nevada,  so  as  to  ascertain  die  lines  of 
communication  through  the  mountains  to  the  ocean  in  that  lati- 
tude," he  was  either  recalling  oral  instructions  or  justifying  a  fait 
accompli.  The  former  seems  more  likely.^  Officials  registered  no 
surprise  when  news  reached  Washington  that  Fremont  was  in  Cali- 
fornia. In  fact,  a  few  days  after  the  expedition  left  Westport  on  26 
June,  the  Western  Expositor,  a  newspaper  published  in  Indepen- 
dence, Missouri,  reported  that  the  main  division  of  the  expedition 
under  Fremont  would  winter  among  the  American  settlements  of 
Upper  California  and  would  then  "pass  round  by  the  lower  route 
.  .  .  crossing  the  Colorado  below  the  'great  kennion,'  and  return 
to  the  Arkansas  by  the  waters  of  the  Gila  and  St.  Juan.  .  .  ." 
Upon  reaching  California,  Fremont  wrote  his  wife  that  he  in- 

■'' Three  letters  of  }.  }.  Abert  to  Fremont.  12  Feb.,  10  April,  and   14  May 
1845,  in  our  \'ol.  1;  excerpt  from  the  Memoirs,  as  Doc.  No.  1,  this  volume. 
^  Western  Expositor  as  quoted  by  Missouri  Republican,  21   July  1845. 


tended  to  "make  a  short  journey  up  the  eastern  branch  of  the  Sacra- 
mento, and  go  from  the  Tlamath  [Klamath]  Lake  into  the  Wah- 
lamath  |  Willamette]  valley,  through  a  pass  alluded  to  in  my  report; 
in  this  way  making  the  road  into  Oregon  far  shorter,  and  a  good 
road  in  place  of  the  present  very  bad  one  down  the  Columbia.  When 
I  shall  have  made  this  short  exploration,  I  shall  have  explored  from 
the  beginning  to  end  this  road  to  Oregon."  Probably  Fremont  in- 
tended to  return  to  California  after  the  "short  exploration"  and  go 
home  by  the  southern  route.  He  later  said  he  had  obtained  permis- 
sion from  the  Mexican  authorities  not  only  to  winter  in  the  valley 
of  the  San  Joaquin  but  "to  continue  his  explorations  south  to  the 
region  of  the  Rio  Colorado,  and  of  the  Rio  Gila."  After  his  initial 
difficulties  with  commanding  general  Jose  Castro  in  California,  he 
apparently  gave  up  the  idea  of  returning  by  the  southern  route,  as 
perhaps  outlined  by  his  verbal  instructions,  for  he  wrote  to  Jessie, 
"Our  government  will  not  require  me  to  return  by  the  southern 
route  against  the  will  of  this  [the  Mexican]  government;  I  shall 
therefore  return  by  the  heads  of  the  Missouri,  going  through  a  pass 
of  which  your  father  knows." 

The  season  was  late  for  scientific  exploring  when  Fremont,  then 
a  brevet  captain,  actually  got  the  expedition  under  way  from  St. 
Louis.  He  had  not  been  able  to  leave  Washington  until  the  middle 
of  May,  the  delay  caused  by  work  on  his  "second  report."  That 
publication  was  to  win  him  a  secure  place  in  the  nation's  history  and, 
after  his  promotion,  according  to  Mrs.  Fremont,  make  him  "the 
most  talked  of  and  admired  lieutenant-colonel  in  the  army." 

After  reaching  Bent's  Fort  in  August  1845,  Fremont  detached 
part  of  his  men  under  the  command  of  Lieutenant  Abert  to  move 
south  into  New  Mexico  through  Raton  Pass,  then  east  through  the 
Texas  Panhandle  and  Oklahoma,  following  the  course  of  the  Cana- 
dian River  to  its  confluence  with  the  Arkansas  at  Fort  Gibson.  In 
the  meantime,  having  been  joined  by  Kit  Carson,  Richard  Owens, 
and  temporarily  by  mountain  man  Bill  Williams,  the  main  party 
ascended  the  Arkansas  to  its  sources,  crossed  the  Colorado  River  to 
the  upper  White  (where  Joseph  R.  Walker  was  added  as  a  guide), 
and  followed  that  down  to  the  Green.  Crossing  the  Green,  the 
expedition  proceeded  west  to  Great  Salt  Lake  and  spent  a  number 
of  days  mapping  the  southern  shore  before  undertaking  the  journey 
across  the  harsh  Salt  Desert.  Water  was  scarce,  but  it  was  autumn, 
the  party  was  mounted,  some  of  its  travel  was  at  night,  and  it 


reached  the  spring  at  the  base  of  Pilot's  Peak  without  undue  diffi- 
culty. After  a  day's  rest  the  men  took  up  their  march  again  on  1 
November  and  wound  their  way  westward  through  the  short  ranges 
of  the  Great  Basin,  arriving  at  Mound  Springs  on  5  November.  To 
gain  the  maximum  amount  of  cartographical  information  before 
snow  blocked  the  passes  in  the  Sierra,  Fremont  there  divided  his 
party.  He  took  fifteen  men  across  Nevada  on  a  diagonal  line;  the 
larger  group,  commanded  by  Theodore  Talbot,  guided  by  Walker, 
and  including  topographer  Edward  M.  Kern,  he  sent  due  west  to 
the  Humboldt  with  instructions  to  follow  that  stream  to  its  "sink." 
They  were  then  to  turn  south  to  reach  the  designated  reunion  point. 
Walker  Lake,  at  the  eastern  base  of  the  Sierra. 

When  this  rendezvous  was  made,  Fremont  divided  the  party 
again,  and  with  fifteen  men  he  rode  north  to  cross  the  mountains 
via  Donner  Pass,  reaching  Sutter's  Fort  on  10  December.  Gathering 
supplies,  he  started  southward  on  13  December  to  meet  the  other 
division  of  his  party,  which  was  to  enter  the  San  Joaquin  Valley  by 
way  of  Walker  Pass  and  wait  for  him  on  Kings  River.  But  this 
Talbot-Walker-Kern  detachment  mistakenly  camped  and  waited  on 
the  Kern,  and  so  Fremont,  unable  to  locate  them,  returned  to  Sut- 
ter's. It  was  not  until  mid-February  that  the  entire  party  of  approxi- 
mately sixty  men,  many  of  whom  had  been  with  him  on  former 
expeditions,  reunited  at  William  Fisher's  Laguna  farm,  thirteen 
miles  south  of  Pueblo  de  San  Jose. 

In  the  meantime  Fremont  had  obtained  passports  from  Sutter 
for  himself  and  eight  of  his  men  and  had  gone  to  Yerba  Buena, 
where  he  was  entertained  by  William  Leidesdorff,  the  American 
vice-consul.  Leidesdorff  accompanied  him  to  Monterey  to  visit  with 
Consul  Larkin,  with  whom  Fremont  undoubtedly  discussed  the 
political  situation  in  California  and  the  increasing  tide  of  American 
emigration.  He  personally  called  upon  the  Mexican  commanding 
general  to  explain  that  he  was  engaged  in  surveying  the  nearest 
route  from  the  United  States  to  the  Pacific  Ocean,  and  that  members 
of  his  party  were  citizens,  not  soldiers.'  The  British  consul  formally 

"^  Fremont  may  have  even  written  a  letter  to  inform  General  Castro  of  his 
motives  in  coming  to  California.  Such  a  letter  has  never  been  found,  but  to 
a  copy  of  his  own  letter  to  the  prefect  of  the  Second  District  Larkin  has  added 
a  note:  "The  General  was  at  his  own  request  officially  informed  by  Captain 
Fremont  of   his   motives   in   coming   here,   which   motives   were   accepted   by 


protested  Fremont's  presence  in  California  to  the  secretary  of  the 
departmental  government.  This  may  have  inspired  an  inquiry  from 
the  prefect  about  the  object  of  Fremont's  mission,  to  which  Larkin 
replied  that  the  explorer,  who  had  left  his  men  on  the  frontiers  of 
the  Second  Department,  had  come  "to  Monterey  to  obtain  clothing, 
and  funds  to  purchase  animals  and  provisions,  and  when  his  men 
are  recruited,  intends  to  continue  his  journey  to  the  Oregon  Terri- 
tory."^ The  impression  was  certainly  given  by  the  consul  that  the 
men  were  to  winter  and  recoup  on  the  frontiers.  Fremont  seems 
likewise  to  have  given  that  impression  to  the  Mexican  authorities. 

Once  the  men  reunited  near  Pueblo  de  San  Jose,  Fremont  re- 
sumed the  work  of  the  expedition — moving  toward  the  towns  and 
coast — apparently  waiting  on  the  season  for  operations  in  the  north. 
He  was  encamped  at  William  E.  P.  Hartnell's  rancho,  about  twenty- 
five  miles  from  Monterey,  when  on  5  March  General  Castro  pe- 
remptorily ordered  him  to  leave  the  department.  Instead  of  comply- 
ing, Fremont  retired  to  a  peak  in  the  Gabilan  Mountains  and  erected 
a  log  fort  with  the  intention  of  fighting  to  the  last  man  if  attacked — 
or  so  he  wrote  Larkin.  Below,  at  the  Mission  San  Juan  Bautista,  the 
Mexicans  began  mustering  and  preparing  artillery  for  an  assault. 
Realizing  that  conflict  would  cause  trouble  for  resident  Americans 
as  well  as  interrupt  business,  Larkin  suggested  that  if  it  were  in- 
convenient for  Fremont  to  leave  California,  he  come  to  an  arrange- 
ment with  the  general  and  prefect  to  continue  his  camp  "at  some 
greater  distance."  "Your  camping  so  near  Town  has  caused  much 
excitement."  The  consul  also  wrote  "To  the  Commander  of  any 
American  Ship  of  War  in  San  Bias  or  Mazatlan"  requesting  that  a 
sloop  of  war  be  sent  to  Monterey.  He  said  he  was  informed  by  Gen- 
eral Castro  that  positive  orders  had  been  received  from  Mexico  to 
drive  Fremont  from  the  country.^  Fremont  found  it  prudent  and 
convenient  to  withdraw  to  the  north. 

On  17  April  Archibald  H.  Gillespie  arrived  in  Monterey  harbor. 
Next  day  he  delivered  to  Larkin  the  Secretary  of  State's  17  October 

Gen.  Castro  in  not  answering  the  letter"  (larkin,  4:186-87).  Most  historians 
have  considered  both  the  application  and  the  permission  to  be  oral.  For  an 
example,  see  royce  [1],  115. 

^PosNER,  107-8;  Larkin  to  Manuel  de  Jesus  Castro,  29  Jan.  1846,  larkin, 
4:186-87.  Later  the  British  Foreign  Office  rebuked  James  A.  Forbes  for  his 
formal  protest  against  Fremont's  entry  into  California. 

^Letter  dated  9  March  1846,  larkin,  4:243-44. 


1845  dispatch,  which  he  had  committed  to  memory  and  destroyed 
before  reaching  Vera  Cruz  but  now  wrote  out  again.  By  this  dis- 
patch Larkin  was  appointed  a  "Confidential  Agent  in  California" 
and  was  informed  that  Gillespie,  in  whom  the  president  placed  "en- 
tire confidence,"  was  to  cooperate  as  a  confidential  agent  to  help 
Larkin  carry  out  his  instructions. 

President  Polk  had  confidentially  instructed  Gillespie  about  his 
mission  to  California  on  30  October  1845,  a  few  days  after  an  inter- 
view in  which  he  attempted  to  secure  Senator  Benton's  support  for 
his  Oregon  policy.  During  the  Polk-Benton  interview  the  conver- 
sation turned  to  the  subject  of  Fremont's  presence  in  California.^" 
A  few  days  later,  and  evidently  after  some  discussion  with  Secretary 
of  State  Buchanan,  Benton  wrote  a  letter  to  his  son-in-law  and  in- 
cluded the  packet  of  family  letters  which  the  State  Department 
decided  to  have  Gillespie  carry  to  California.^^ 

Gillespie,  dubbed  by  Marti  as  the  "Messenger  of  Destiny,"  did 
not  stay  long  in  Monterey  but  hurried  on  to  San  Francisco  with  a 
note  from  Larkin  introducing  him  to  Leidesdorfif  as  "a  Gendeman 
well  worthy  of  Attention."^"  While  there  he  received  from  the 
hands  of  a  hard-riding  courier  a  dispatch  from  Larkin  dated  23 
April,  stating  that  Capt.  John  B.  Montgomery  of  the  Portsmouth 
had  arrived  at  Monterey  and  was  of  the  opinion  that  Commodore 
Sloat  "may  by  the  next  mail  (Six  or  eight  days)  have  a  declaration 
on  the  part  of  the  United  States  against  Mexico  in  which  case,  we 
shall  see  him  in  a  few  days  to  take  the  Country."  The  letter  also 
contained  an  expression  of  the  consul's  opinion  to  prominent  Cali- 
fornians,  Castro  and  Mariano  G.  Vallejo  among  them,  that  the  U.S. 
flag  might  fly  in  California  in  thirty  days.  "The  former  says,  for 
his  own  plans.  War  is  preferable  to  peace,  as  by  War,  affairs  will 

1"  POLK,  1:67-72,  83-84. 

'^  Since  most  of  the  Benton  family  letters  carried  to  California  by  Gillespie 
had  originally  been  designated  for  the  regular  mails  across  Mexico,  the  his- 
torian John  A.  Hussey  concludes  that  they  could  have  contained  no  secret 
instructions  for  Fremont  (hussey  [3]).  However,  many  confidential  letters 
were  sent  through  the  regular  mails  in  care  of  mercantile  firms.  Gillespie 
sent  his  dispatches  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  in  such  a  manner,  and  Com- 
modore Sloat  specifically  requested  that  the  Navy  Department  fold  dispatches 
like  ordinary  mercantile  letters,  enclose  them  in  a  non-yellow  envelope,  and 
send  them  to  a  mercantile  firm  in  Mazatlan  (Sloat  to  Bancroft,  6  May  1846, 
DNA-45,  Pacific  Squadron,  Commodore  Sloat's  Cruise,  1844-46). 

^2  Larkin  to  Leidesdorff,  19  April  1846,  hawgood  [1],  54. 


at  once  be  brought  to  a  close,  and  each  one  know  his  doom.  I 
[Larkin]  answered,  without  War  he  could  make  certain  Officers 
and  secure  to  himself,  and  his  friends,  fame,  honour,  permanent 
employ  and  pay."  The  Oregon  question,  Larkin  wrote,  was  unset- 
tled, and  Commodore  Robert  F.  Stockton  had  not  arrived.^^  While 
Gillespie  was  at  Yerba  Buena,  the  captain  of  the  port  was  heard  to 
say  that  the  subprefect  had  received  a  courier  on  24  April  advising 
him  of  the  expected  war  with  Mexico.  LeidesdorfT  and  Gillespie 
shared  information,  and  the  vice-consul  considered  the  rumors  of 
war  as  "glorious  news  for  Capt.  Freemont."^^ 

Gillespie  dashed  on  to  Sutter's  Fort  and  500  miles  farther  into 
the  Oregon  wilderness  in  pursuit  of  Fremont.  What  was  his  mis- 
sion.'^ To  deliver  a  common  letter  of  introduction  and  a  packet  of 
family  letters  ?  To  obtain  further  information  on  conditions  in  Cali- 
fornia ?  To  recall  Fremont  to  California  ?  Hardly  the  first  or  second. 
Letters  could  have  been  forwarded  by  a  courier;  Larkin,  LeidesdorfT, 
and  others  were  better  informed  about  intrigues,  politics,  and  possi- 
ble change  in  California  than  was  Fremont. 

In  the  spring  of  1846  the  general  impression  among  Californians 
and  American  settlers  on  the  Sacramento  was  that  Gillespie  had 
gone  to  Oregon  to  recall  Fremont.  Two  months  after  that  dramatic 
meeting  in  Oregon,  Talbot  wrote  his  mother,  "About  the  25th  of 
April  we  started  for  Oregon,  but  had  only  reached  the  Klamet  Lake 
when  Lt.  Gillespie  of  the  U.S.  Marines  overtook  us  with  orders 
directly  from  the  United  States  for  us  to  return  to  California."^^ 
This  may  have  been  what  Fremont  told  his  men.  Yet  in  a  letter 
written  to  Benton  at  the  same  time,  Fremont  implied  that  his  return 
to  the  Sacramento  was  purely  voluntary — prompted  in  part  by 
snow  in  the  mountains.  Curiously  there  had  been  no  mention  of 
snow  in  an  earlier  letter  to  Benton. 

It  seems  evident  that  President  Polk  wanted  Fremont  in  Cali- 
fornia. A  garrison  would  be  needed  even  if  Larkin  were  able  to 
work  out  a  program  for  the  peaceful  takeover  of  the  country.  Or, 
if  hostilities  came  and  the  Navy  took  the  ports,  a  small  army  would 
be  an  asset  in  holding  fast.  It  is  entirely  possible  that  Polk  verbally 
and  confidentially  instructed  Gillespie  to  order  Fremont  and  his 

1-^  Larkin  to  Gillespie.  23  April  1846,  larkin.  4:340-41, 
^■*  Leidesdorflf  to  Larkin.  25  April  1846.  larkin.  4:348. 
15  Letter  dated  24  July  1846  (DLC— Talbot  Papers). 


armed  voyageurs  to  be  on  hand  in  California  to  help  seize  it  when 
news  of  American  hostilities  arrived.  Historian  Richard  Stenberg 
goes  even  furdier  and  insists  that  in  view  of  his  disingenuous  and 
aggressive  policy  toward  Mexico,  it  would  not  have  been  out  of 
character  for  Polk  to  have  given  Fremont,  through  Gillespie,  "en- 
couraging discretionary  authority  covertly  to  incite  the  Americans 
in  California  to  revolt  or  to  provoke  the  Mexican  authorities  to 
attack  him,  acting  in  this  as  though  on  his  own  authority  and  care- 
fully concealing  Polk's  hand."^^  Stenberg  does  not  even  accept 
Polk's  denial  in  his  diary  in  1848  that  "Col.  Fremont  had  the  author- 
ity to  make  the  revolution,""  and  Glenn  W.  Price's  study  of  the 
Polk-Stockton  intrigue  in  Texas  would  tend  to  support  Stenberg's 
charge  that  Polk  was  often  insincere.^^ 

Less  than  a  month  after  the  return  of  the  Army  and  Marine  offi- 
cers to  the  Sacramento  Valley,  the  Bear  Flag  Revolt  was  in  full 
swing.  Undoubtedly  emboldened  by  Fremont's  presence,  some  of 
the  rough  and  ready  members  of  the  aguardiente  set  saw  themselves 
cast  in  the  role  of  American  patriots  and  were  impelled  to  drastic 
action,  to  the  distress  of  more  substantial  men  like  Larkin  and 
Sutter.  Early  in  June  1846,  under  Ezekiel  Merritt,  this  group  stole 
a  large  band  of  horses  belonging  to  the  Mexican  army  and  then, 
with  Merritt  and  William  B.  Ide  leading  the  way,  captured  Mariano 
G.  Vallejo's  Sonoma  garrison  and  raised  the  Bear  Flag  over  the  new 
"California  Republic."  Undoubtedly  neither  the  Bear  Flaggers  nor 
the  Californios  against  whom  they  directed  their  uprising  knew 
that  since  13  May  an  official  state  of  war  had  existed  between  Mex- 
ico and  the  United  States — a  long-smoldering  affair  touched  into 
flame  by  events  along  the  Rio  Grande. 

Both  Fremont  and  Gillespie  were  being  credited  by  Californians 
as  well  as  Americans  with  "springing"  the  Bear  Flag  Revolt  and 
"fanning  it  on  in  a  private  manner."^^  Fremont  wrote  Benton  that 
on  6  June  he  had  made  his  decision  about  the  course  he  would  pur- 
sue and  had  immediately  coordinated  his  operations  with  the  "for- 
eigners" inhabiting  the  valley.  Even  earlier — on  24  May — Gillespie 
had  written  Larkin:  "I  send  this  message  to  get  such  news  as  you 

^^  STENBERG,  219. 

1^  POLK,  3:395. 
^^  See  PRICE. 

i**  Larkin  to  Buchanan,  18  June  1846,  30  lune  and  25  Aug.  1847,  larkin, 
5:41-44,  6:225-27,  291-92. 


have  &  to  give  us  some  information  in  relation  to  the  vessels  of  war 
— where  they  are  &  whether  the  Congress  [with  Stockton]  has 
arrived.""*'  Fremont  is  obviously  included  in  the  "us,"  and  even  at 
this  early  date  the  officers  seem  to  have  decided  upon  their  course 
of  action.  Statements  of  peaceful  intent  and  plans  to  return  at  once 
to  the  United  States  that  appear  in  various  letters  to  and  from  Fre- 
mont in  May  and  June  are  likely  mere  facade.  Some  historians  do 
believe  that  Fremont  may  have  been  included  in  Polk's  program  for 
California  but  had  no  secret  instructions  to  start  a  revolution.^^ 
Possibly  he  assumed  a  role  for  himself.  George  Tays  concludes  that 
after  his  return  to  Sutter's  Fort,  Fremont  decided  to  revenge  himself 
for  the  Gabilan  incident,  and  in  a  real  sense  the  explorer's  25  July 
letter  lends  color  to  this  charge.  And  historians  have  interpreted 
(but  erroneously)  a  spring  1847  letter  by  his  wife  as  asserting  that 
Fremont  was  revenging  a  personal  insult.^"  Although  a  bold  and 
cool  man,  would  he  have  dared  to  act  so  rashly  merely  to  satisfy 
an  injury  to  his  vanity  without  some  intimation  from  his  govern- 
ment that  such  action  was  desirable  or  at  least  tolerable? 

Another  writer  on  California  affairs,  Ernest  A.  Wiltsee,  thinks 
that  the  Polk  administration  wanted  an  undercover  revolt  to  prevent 
a  foreign  fleet  from  landing  and  taking  possession  before  American 
naval  commanders  could  act.^^  In  fact,  Commodore  Sloat  was  slow 
to  raise  the  flag  in  California  and  probably  did  so  only  because  of 
the  Bear  Flag  Revolt  and  Fremont's  successful  operations  on  shore. 
On  31  May  1846  Sloat  had  received  word  of  American  victories  at 
Palo  Alto  and  Resaca  de  la  Palma,  and  on  5  June  of  the  capture  of 
Matamoros.  Even  so,  he  still  did  not  feel  justified  under  his  existing 
orders  in  taking  possession  of  any  part  of  California.  Not  until  7 
June,  after  receiving  word  of  the  blockade  of  the  east  coast  of  Mex- 
ico, did  he  leave  Mazatlan  in  the  Savannah,  reaching  Monterey  on 
2  July.  Although  briefed  by  Larkin,  he  did  not  formulate  a  final  plan 

20  LARKIN,  4:393-94. 

2^  HUSSEY   [3];  TAYS    [2]. 

-2  Jessie  B.  Fremont  had  letters  from  her  husband  dated  as  late  as  1  Oct. 
1846,  when  she  assured  botanist  John  Torrey  that  her  husband  had  no  sym- 
pathy for  the  Mexican  War.  "Fighting  is  not  his  aim,"  she  added,  "&  though 
he  threw  all  his  energy  into  the  aflfair  last  July  &  August  yet  it  was  as  if 
revenging  a  private  insult  for  he  knew  nothing  of  the  war"  (21  March  1847, 
NNNBG — Torrey  Correspondence). 

2^  WILTSEE    [2]. 


of  action  until  5  July,  when  the  Portsmouth's,  launch  brought  letters 
from  Montgomery  to  Larkin  and  William  Mervine,  commander 
of  the  Cyane,  detailing  Fremont's  action  in  conjunction  with  the 
Bears.  Certainly  Sloat  had  been  in  no  hurry  to  seize  California  and 
would  later  be  reprimanded  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  for  his 


Unfortunately,  Benton's  "somewhat  enigmatical"  letter  to  Fre- 
mont, bearing  the  late  October  1845  date,  has  never  been  found.  He 
refered  to  it  in  a  letter  to  Buchanan  in  July  1848  and,  some  seven 
years  later  at  Fremont's  request,  stated  positively  that  "to  save  the 
administration  from  responsibility  for  what  might  happen,  I  [Ben- 
ton], at  their  request,  wrote  the  letter  on  which  he  [Fremont] 
acted. "^^  Fremont  was  still  trying  to  obtain  reimbursements  for  his 
California  expenditures,  and  in  support  of  his  application  he  made  a 
statement  of  his  comprehension  of  the  communications  brought  by 

Taken  together,  the  character  of  these  dispatches  &  the  place  and  cir- 
cumstances of  their  delivery  answered  to  me  for  positive  instructions 
from  the  head  of  the  government  &  was  received  by  me  with  the  most 
unbounded  satisfaction.  I  prepared  to  execute  them  entirely  as  a  matter 
of  course  &  determined  to  give  them  their  broadest  interpretation  &  to 
put  to  the  fullest  use  every  means  in  my  power — men,  money  &  arms — in 
securing  to  our  country  the  territory  of  California,  and  while  I  regarded 
this  communication  to  differ  in  nothing  but  its  secret  nature  from  regular 
instructions,  I  comprehended  that  I  was  expected  to  act  as  upon  my  own 
responsibility,  leaving  to  the  government  to  support  me  in  such  way  &  at 
such  time  as  might  be  judged  expedient.  It  is  very  probable  that  in  the 
freedom  of  such  responsibility  I  did  more,  &  more  promptly,  than  had 
been  expected.^** 

In  1848  in  his  deposition  before  a  subcommittee  of  the  Military 
Affairs  Committee  of  the  Senate,  he  had  been  more  restrained,  al- 
though his  pecuniary  interest  was  still  there.  "This  officer  [Gillespie] 

2^  Bancroft  to  Sloat,  13  Aug.  1846,  Calijornui  Chiims,  Senate  Report  75, 
p.  71,  30th  Cong.,  1st  sess..  Serial  512. 

2^  Benton  to  Buchanan,  15  July  1848  (PHi — Buchanan  Papers);  statement 
of  Benton.  30  July  1855  (KyLoF — James  Guthrie  Papers).  To  Buchanan 
Benton  had  written,  "My  letter  which  accompanied  yours,  and  what  was 
said  to  Mr.  Larkin  (in  the  like  case)  led  him  to  believe  that  he  was  to  be 
liberal  as  well  as  active,  discreet  and  zealous  in  accomplishing  a  great  object." 

-"Fremont's  description  of  his  California  expedition,  1845  (KyLoF — 
Ciuthrie  Papers). 


informed  me  that  he  had  been  directed  by  the  Secretary  of  State  to 
find  me,  and  to  acquaint  me  with  his  instructions,  which  had  for 
their  principal  objects  to  ascertain  the  disposition  of  the  Cahfornian 
people,  to  conciliate  their  feelings  in  favor  of  the  United  States,  and 
to  find  out,  with  a  design  of  counteracting,  the  designs  of  the  British 
government  upon  that  country."  Gillespie  testified  that  he  had 
shown  Fremont  a  copy  of  Buchanan's  17  October  dispatch  to  Lar- 
kin.^^  Gillespie  likewise  testified  that  when  questioned  by  Commo- 
dore Sloat  in  the  harbor  of  Monterey  by  what  authority  he  was 
acting,  Fremont  replied  that  he  had  "acted  upon  his  own  authority, 
and  not  from  orders  of  the  government,"  which  is  what  he  had 
intimated  to  Benton  in  the  25  July  1846  letter.  However,  in  July 
1848  Benton  wrote  the  Secretary  of  State  seeking  compensation  from 
the  contingent  Foreign  Intercourse  Fund  for  Fremont  because  of 
his  services  in  California.  Buchanan  indicated  that  he  could  not 
legally  reimburse  Fremont  from  that  source  and  suggested  an  appli- 
cation to  Congress — whereupon  Benton  and  Fremont  dropped  the 
whole  subject,  apparently  unwilling  to  lend  support  to  the  charge 
that  he  had  been  sent  by  the  government  to  excite  revolt  in  Cali- 
fornia in  time  of  peace.^^ 

The  other  major  incident  of  Fremont's  California  venture  of 
1845-47,  one  that  made  him  a  still  more  controversial  figure,  was 
his  refusal  as  lieutenant  colonel  to  obey  an  order  issued  by  his  al- 
leged superior  officer,  Brig.  Gen.  Stephen  Watts  Kearny.  This  quar- 
rel also  involved  Commodore  Robert  F.  Stockton,  and  for  an 
understanding  of  its  nature,  at  least  a  brief  sketch  of  the  conquest 
of  California  is  essential  (though  the  documents  themselves  provide 
richer  detail). 

The  Stars  and  Stripes  replaced  the  Bear  Flag  at  Sonoma  on  9  July 
1846,  and  the  three-week-old  "Young  California""^  came  to  an  end. 
On  the  invitation  of  Sloat,  Fremont  moved  from  Sutter's  Fort  to 
cooperate  with  the  naval  forces  in  holding  the  country  already  con- 
quered and  in  chastising  the  Indians.  Soon  after  his  arrival  Sloat 
resigned,  and  the  peppery  Stockton  took  command  of  the  American 
naval  forces  in  the  Pacific.  Stockton  launched  a  vigorous  campaign 

^"^  California  Claims,  Senate  Report  75,  p.  33. 

28  Benton  to  Buchanan,  15  and  20  July   1848  (PHi — Buchanan  Papers). 
-^  LeidesdorfT's  expression;  see  his  19  June  1846  letter  to  Larkin  in  larkin, 


to  establish  control  over  southern  California.  Fremont's  battalion 
was  taken  into  naval  service,  Fremont  receiving  an  appointment  as 
commander  with  the  rank  of  major,  and  Gillespie  a  captaincy. 
Stockton  likewise  issued  commissions  to  other  officers  of  the  bat- 
talion and  sent  Fremont  south  to  San  Diego,  while  he  and  Larkin, 
who  still  hoped  to  win  over  the  Californians  by  peaceful  means, 
sailed  for  San  Pedro,  the  port  for  Los  Angeles.  There,  disheartened 
by  their  failures  to  organize  first  an  effective  force  of  resistance  and 
then  a  truce,  Governor  Pio  Pico  and  General  Castro  fled  the  capital 
rather  than  surrender,  and  American  forces  joined  to  enter  the  City 
of  the  Angels  unopposed. 

Stockton  wrote  President  Polk  and  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  that 
as  soon  as  he  could  "safely  do  so,"  he  would  appoint  Fremont  gover- 
nor and  Gillespie  secretary  of  the  conquered  territory.  Such  inten- 
tions were  also  communicated  to  Fremont,  whom  he  appointed 
military  commandant. 

Early  in  September  Stockton  sailed  north  to  Monterey  and  San 
Francisco.  A  few  days  later  Fremont  went  by  land  to  the  Sacra- 
mento to  augment  the  strength  of  the  California  Battalion  and  to 
recruit  a  thousand  men  for  Stockton,  who  had  visions  of  landing 
troops  at  Acapulco  and  marching  overland  to  clasp  hands  with  Gen. 
Zachary  Taylor  at  the  gates  of  Mexico  City.  Gillespie  was  left  with 
fifty  men  to  garrison  Los  Angeles,  but  scarcely  two  weeks  after 
Fremont's  departure  the  Angeleiios  rose  in  rebellion  and  forced 
Gillespie  to  withdraw  from  the  city  and  embark  on  the  merchant 
ship  Vafidalia  in  San  Pedro  harbor. 

When  Stockton  heard  of  the  disaster,  he  recalled  Fremont  from 
the  Sacramento,  sent  Mervine  south  on  the  U.S.S.  Savannah  to  give 
aid,  and  soon  sailed  himself  on  the  Congress.  Gillespie  and  Mervine 
rallied  for  an  attack  on  Los  Angeles  but  were  repulsed,  and  even 
the  arrival  of  Stockton  made  little  difference  in  the  military  situa- 
tion. All  of  southern  California  slipped  back  into  the  hands  of  the 
Californians.  The  Americans  were  able  to  reoccupy  San  Diego,  but 
it  was  some  time  before  they  dislodged  the  Mexicans  from  the  hill- 
tops and  procured  the  cattle  and  horses  necessary  to  equip  a  land 
force  to  march  against  Los  Angeles. 

In  the  meantime  Fremont  and  his  force  had  boarded  the  Sterling 
with  the  intention  of  supporting  Stockton  in  the  south,  but  they 
learned  from  a  passing  vessel  that  the  Californians  had  driven  the 
stock  into  the  interior.  Without  horses,  Fremont  hesitated.  Then, 


using  the  discretionary  authority  Stockton  had  given  him,  he  hauled 
back  to  Monterey,  there  to  gather  supphes  and  men,  sending  agents 
to  the  Sacramento  to  recruit  newly  arrived  emigrants  and  even 

At  the  end  of  November  his  battalion  took  up  the  line  of  march 
for  Los  Angeles.  A  few  days  later  the  conqueror  of  New  Mexico, 
Stephen  Watts  Kearny,  entered  California  from  the  east  at  the  head 
of  approximately  a  hundred  dragoons.  He  had  sent  the  major  part 
of  his  Army  of  the  West  back  to  Santa  Fe  after  getting  word  from 
Kit  Carson  near  Socorro  on  the  Rio  Grande  that  the  fighting  in 
California  was  over.  He  must  also  have  learned  at  this  time  that 
Fremont  was  to  be  governor  of  California.^*^  Kearny  came  with 
orders  issued  in  June,  authorizing  him  to  establish  temporary  civil 
governments  over  areas  his  army  conquered  in  New  Mexico  and 
California  and  giving  him  command  of  volunteers  sent  to  or  orga- 
nized in  California.  But  as  he  neared  Warner's  rancho,  he  became 
aware  of  the  precarious  conditions  in  California.  He  dispatched  an 
English  rancher,  Edward  Stokes,  to  San  Diego  with  a  message  for 
Stockton,  who  responded  by  sending  reinforcements  under  Gilles- 
pie. These  reached  him  on  5  December,  and  on  the  following  morn- 
ing in  a  cold  rain,  Kearny's  tired,  poorly  organized  force  attacked 
at  the  Indian  pueblo  of  San  Pasqual  and  were  defeated  by  the  Cali- 
fornians,  who  not  only  outmanuevered  the  Americans  but  were 
devastating  in  the  use  of  their  long,  deadly  lances.  Kearny  imme- 
diately appealed  to  San  Diego  for  aid,  then  moved  to  a  more  defen- 
sible position  ten  miles  away.  Only  after  a  second  plea  to  Stockton 
did  a  large  relief  party  arrive  before  dawn  on  11  December .'^^ 

^"  Under  date  of  6  Oct.  1846,  Capt.  Abraham  R.  Johnston  recorded  in  his 
journal  the  meeting  of  Kearny's  forces  with  Carson  and  mentioned  the  proba- 
bility that  Fremont  was  military  and  civil  governor  of  California  (House 
Exec.  Doc.  41,  p.  572,  30th  Cong.,  1st  sess.,  Serial  517).  William  H.  Emory, 
another  officer  with  Kearny,  made  no  mention  of  Fremont  in  his  journal,  and 
Benton  charged  that  Emory  expunged  and  rewrote  his  journal  after  Kearny's 
controversy  with  Fremont  over  the  governorship. 

^^  Kearny's  supporters  maintained  that  Stockton  rejected  the  first  appeal 
for  aid,  which  was  carried  into  San  Diego  by  Alexander  Godey,  Thomas  H. 
Burgess,  and  another.  As  the  party  returned  to  Kearny  on  Mule  Hill,  it  was 
captured  by  the  Californians  but  presumably  was  able  to  cache  Stockton's 
letter  in  a  tree.  Later  the  Kearny  forces  exchanged  a  Mexican  prisoner  for 
Burgess,  who  reported  that  the  commodore  had  refused  to  send  reinforcements 


Later,  in  his  court-martial  defense,  Fremont  would  make  much 
of  Kearny's  inability  to  move  into  San  Diego  without  aid  from 
Stockton.  Kearny  came  not  to  conquer  but  to  secure  the  fruits  of 
conquest  after  others  had  done  the  work,  insisted  Fremont.  Since 
he  had  been  unable  to  take  over  California,  his  instructions  from  the 
Secretary  of  War  were  no  longer  applicable.  Others  conversant  with 
the  history  of  the  war  would  sustain  this  view.  A  naval  chaplain, 
one  of  the  editors  of  the  Californiafi,  could  write,  "It  is  requiring  too 
much  of  us  ...  to  claim  our  assent  to  the  allegation  that  California 
has  been  conquered  through  the  achievements  of  the  army."^" 

Soon  after  Kearny  reached  San  Diego,  the  sparring  for  supremacy 
of  command  commenced,  although,  in  the  joint  expedition  mounted 
against  Los  Angeles,  Stockton  seems  to  have  been  in  general  com- 
mand with  Kearny  acting  as  his  aide  and  commanding  troops  in 
the  field.  From  the  Mission  San  Juan  Capistrano  on  5  January 
Stockton  issued  a  proclamation  offering  a  general  amnesty  to  all 
Californians  except  the  leader  of  the  revolt,  Jose  Maria  Flores,  on 
condition  that  he  be  given  up  as  a  prisoner.  The  Californians  would 
not  negotiate  on  these  terms,  lost  the  two  battles  of  San  Gabriel  and 
the  Mesa,  and,  after  Flores  had  fled,  turned  north  and  surrendered 
to  Fremont  at  the  Mission  San  Fernando.  Although  he  undoubtedly 
knew  of  the  presence  of  his  superior  officer  a  few  miles  away  at 
Los  Angeles,  Fremont  granted  generous  terms  and  sent  the  treaty 
to  Stockton  by  his  aide  William  H.  Russell,  whom  he  also  instructed 
to  inquire  carefully  about  who  was  in  command  in  Los  Angeles.^^ 
Russell  reported  that  although  Kearny  seemed  to  be  the  better  friend 
to  the  young  explorer,  Stockton  was  exercising  the  functions  of  civil 
and  military  governor,  and  that  the  general's  having  discharged 

(griffin  [1].  21:337).  Stockton,  Fremont,  and  their  supporters  denied  this 
violently,  Stockton  insisting  that  as  soon  as  the  Godey  party  had  arrived  in 
San  Diego,  preparations  were  immediately  begun  to  send  a  party  to  relieve 
Kearny.  The  cached  letter  was  not  found  by  Kearny's  men  and  may  have 
been  taken  by  Gen.  Andres  Pico's  California  force  (clarke,  225). 

•^2coLToN,  17  July  1847. 

■"^•"^  BANCROFT,  5:387.  The  assistant  surgeon  with  Kearny's  dragoons,  John  S. 
CjrifJin,  wrote  in  his  diary,  "The  fact  is,  it  is  said  that  the  Californians  would 
not  have  negociated  with  Stockton  on  any  terms,  in  consequence  of  the  procla- 
mation he  sent  them  from  the  Mission  of  St.  John's."  He  also  noted,  "We 
took  the  wind  out  of  Fremonts  sails  by  capturing  the  Puehla — and  whipping 
the  enemy  on  the  8th  and  9th,  but  he  has  shown  himself  the  better  politician 
by  negociating  first  with  the  enemy"  (griffin  [1],  22:44). 


certain  duties  implied  an  acknowledgment  of  the  commodore's  su- 

When  Fremont  entered  Los  Angeles,  he  went  first  to  the  quarters 
assigned  to  him  by  Stockton,  then  reported  in  person  to  Stockton, 
and  afterward  called  on  Kearny.  Within  two  days  of  Fremont's 
arrival  the  conflict  between  the  Army  and  the  Navy  over  the  inter- 
pretation of  instructions  from  their  respective  departments  came  out 
into  the  open.  Kearny  considered  Fremont's  13  January  1847  letter 
a  report  of  the  California  Battalion  to  him,  but  at  the  court-martial 
Fremont  contended  the  letter  was  written  after  receiving  four 
friendly  letters  from  Kearny.  The  general  ordered  that  no  change 
be  made  in  the  organization  of  the  California  Battalion  without  his 
approval  and  objected  to  Stockton's  proposed  institution  of  a  civil 
government  in  California.  Stockton  responded  by  reiterating  that 
Kearny's  instructions  had  been  negated  by  events  before  his  arrival, 
intimated  that  he  would  ask  the  president  for  his  recall,  and  sus- 
pended Kearny  from  command  of  the  U.S.  forces  in  Los  Angeles 
other  than  the  dragoons.  On  his  part,  Fremont  refused  to  acknowl- 
edge the  general's  authority  over  him;  noted  that  until  Kearny  and 
Stockton  adjusted  between  themselves  the  question  of  rank,  he 
would  have  "to  report  and  receive  orders,  as  heretofore,  from  the 
Commodore";  and  accepted  Stockton's  commission  as  governor.  At 
his  court-martial  he  maintained  that  the  question  of  rank  between 
Stockton  and  Kearny  was  being  tried  in  his  person. 

Kearny  left  Los  Angeles  on  18  January,  having  informed  Stockton 
that  he  "would  remain  silent  for  the  present"  in  order  to  prevent 
"collision  between  us  &  possibly  civil  war  in  consequence  of  it," 
leaving  with  the  commodore  the  "great  responsibility"  of  doing 
that  for  which  he  had  no  authority.  At  this  time,  despite  his  conten- 
tions, Kearny  seems  to  have  had  real  doubts  about  his  own  authority. 
In  the  cabinet  consideration  of  the  case  following  Fremont's  court- 
martial,  Secretary  of  State  Buchanan  would  apply  the  word  "pusil- 
lanimity" to  Kearny,  noting  that  "if  he  believed  he  had  the  author- 
ity, he  yielded  it  to  Com.  Stockton  &  did  not  enforce  it."  To  this 
the  Secretary  of  War  took  exception  and  said  that  since  Kearny  had 
not  the  troops  to  command  obedience,  "he  had  acted  with  great 
forbearance  &  propriety."^"*  The  Mormon  Battalion,  350  strong,  ar- 

34  POLK,  3:336-38. 


rived  in  California  before  Kearny  left  San  Diego,  but  apparently  the 
general  did  not  seriously  consider  using  the  weary  soldiers  to  force 
Fremont's  obedience. 

Stockton  likewise  left  Los  Angeles,  and  Fremont  remained  in 
relatively  unperturbed  governorship  for  several  weeks,  although  lack 
of  money  was  a  recurring  problem.  On  his  way  to  San  Francisco 
Kearny  consulted  with  Commodore  W.  Branford  Shubrick  in  Mon- 
terey and  became  aware  of  the  Navy  Department's  12  July  instruc- 
tions directing  Sloat,  or  his  successor,  to  organize  a  civil  government 
when  California  was  conquered.  Although  both  Stockton  and  Fre- 
mont were  unaware  of  these  instructions  when  they  defied  Kearny 
in  Los  Angeles,  they  nevertheless  bear  out  the  explorer's  contention 
in  his  court-martial  that  Washington  had  sent  faulty  orders.  These 
12  July  instructions  placing  the  civil  administration  in  the  hands  of 
the  naval  commander  postdated  Kearny's  own  instructions,  but 
Shubrick  made  no  attempt  to  exercise  any  civil  authority,  and  he 
and  Kearny  decided  to  await  more  explicit  instructions  from  Wash- 
ington. These  arrived  in  San  Francisco  on  13  February — the  very 
day  Kearny's  ship  entered  the  bay.  By  a  letter  from  Gen.  Winfield 
Scott  and  a  copy  of  a  letter  from  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  Kearny 
learned  that  the  president  wanted  the  supreme  army  authority  to 
exercise  the  administrative  functions  of  government.  His  uncertainty 
over  his  authority  was  ended,  but  he  had  not  the  grace  to  communi- 
cate these  instructions  to  Fremont.  However,  in  a  letter  to  Fremont 
asking  that  the  naval  officers  serving  with  the  California  Battalion 
be  returned  to  the  squadron,  Shubrick  wrote  that  he  was  instructed 
that  Kearny  was  the  commanding  officer  and  invested  with  the 
administrative  functions  of  government  over  the  people  and  the 

When  Kearny  returned  to  Monterey,  he  sent  his  adjutant  south 
with  orders  for  Fremont  to  muster  the  California  volunteers  into 
the  service  of  the  United  States  and  to  bring  the  archives  to  Mon- 
terey. The  battalion  was  at  San  Gabriel.  Perhaps  hoping  that  still 
later  instructions  and  presidential  approval  of  his  appointment  as 
governor  would  reach  California,  Fremont  unwisely  delayed.  His 
secretary  of  state,  William  H.  Russell,  wrote  to  Philip  St.  George 
Cooke,  whom  Kearny  had  made  commander  in  the  Southern  Dis- 
trict, that  the  men  refused  to  be  mustered  into  service  and  that  the 
governor  deemed  it  unsafe  to  disband  them,  since  rumors  were  rife 
of  a  threatened  insurrection.  Giving  orders  to  Richard  Owens  not 


to  surrender  the  arms  and  munitions  to  any  corps,  Fremont  made 
a  sensational  ride  to  Monterey  to  see  Kearny,  allegedly  to  warn  of 
impending  trouble  in  the  south  and  to  see  if  Kearny  would  assume 
the  debts  Fremont  had  incurred  as  governor.  But  Kearny  testified 
at  the  court-martial  that  he  never  knew  the  object  of  Fremont's 
visit  and  that  it  had  been  the  cause  of  some  speculation  among 
others.  The  interview  only  added  fuel  to  the  fire  of  their  controversy, 
though  Fremont  did  agree  to  obey  Kearny's  orders.  His  wish  to 
resign  from  the  Army  was  summarily  rejected. 

Soon  after  Fremont  departed  to  implement  orders.  Col.  Richard 
B.  Mason — who  was  to  succeed  Kearny  as  military  governor  of 
California — was  sent  south  to  inspect  the  troops  and  to  give  further 
instructions  to  Fremont.  From  the  outset  relations  between  the  two 
officers  were  strained,  and  they  ended  with  Fremont  challenging 
the  conservative  Virginian  to  a  duel.  On  Mason's  request  it  was  post- 
poned until  the  officers  could  reach  Monterey.  In  the  interval 
Kearny  and  Commodore  James  Biddle  learned  of  the  impending 
afifair  of  honor;  the  former  forbade  it,  and  the  latter  pled  with 
Mason  for  a  postponement,  all  of  which  caused  Benton  to  charge 
later  that  Kearny  and  Biddle  had  conspired  to  extricate  Mason  from 
a  difficult  situation.  The  spectacle  of  an  internecine  fight  between 
high-ranking  Army  officers,  one  of  whom  was  a  former  governor 
and  one  of  whom  was  to  be  governor,  would  have  done  nothing  to 
promote  U.S.  interests  in  California. 

After  completing  his  military  duties  in  the  south,  Fremont  lin- 
gered on  in  Los  Angeles.  Kearny  arrived  there  on  10  May,  and  the 
explorer  requested  permission  to  take  a  party  of  men  to  Mexico  to 
join  his  regiment.  Kearny  had  informed  Fremont  early  in  March 
that  he  was  at  liberty  to  leave  California  as  soon  as  he  had  complied 
with  orders,  since  the  general-in-chief  of  the  Army  had  directed 
that  he  not  be  detained  against  his  wishes  "a  moment  longer  than 
the  necessities  of  the  service  may  require."  Kearny  refused  this  re- 
quest and  three  subsequent  applications  by  Fremont  to  leave  the 
party  and  journey  home.  Obviously  Fremont's  conduct  since  March 
had  so  irritated  the  general  that  he  had  reverted  to  an  earlier  deci- 
sion, made  in  January,  to  place  him  under  arrest  at  a  feasible  time. 

Kearny  reviewed  the  troops  in  Monterey  and  ordered  Fremont  to 
surrender  the  topographical  instruments.  Fremont  would  later 
imply  that  it  had  been  Kearny's  intention  to  stop  his  topographical 
pursuits  by  requiring  that  he  turn  over  his  surveying  instruments, 


but  it  is  doubtful  that  the  explorer,  so  agitated  by  his  own  problems, 
would  have  been  able  to  accomplish  much  in  the  scientific  field. 
One  geographer  indicts  him  for  not  being  able  to  give  Charles 
Preuss  more  constructive  ideas  about  the  country  he  crossed  on  the 
homeward  journey  in  1847,  but  he  cites  it  as  an  example  of  Fre- 
mont's dependence  upon  his  topographers.'^^  On  31  May  the  march 
for  home  began  via  the  Sacramento.  In  time  the  party  passed  the 
scene  of  the  Donner  tragedy  of  the  preceding  winter,  and  Kearny 
ordered  Maj.  Thomas  Swords  to  bury  the  grisly  remains.^^ 

Long  before  Kearny  and  Fremont  reached  St.  Louis,  Lieut.  Wil- 
liam H.  Emory  had  arrived  in  Washington  with  Kearny's  version 
of  his  conflict  with  Stockton  and  Fremont;  the  Carson-Talbot- 
Beale  party  and  William  H.  Russell  brought  the  Fremont  version. 
Benton  was  enraged  by  the  appearance  in  the  newspapers  of  letters 
and  articles  containing  such  statements  as:  "Com.  Stockton's  des- 
patches are  full  of  false  representations,"  Kearny  "routed  the  enemy 
[at  San  Pasqual],  and  chased  him  some  miles,"  "Stockton  rudely 
refused  to  grant  his  [Kearny's]  requisition  [for  horses  and  men]," 
"General  Kearny  commanded  the  troops  in  both  battles  [8  and  9 
January],"  "After  the  battle  of  the  9th  January,  Andreas  Pico  .  .  . 
having  twice  broken  his  parole,  and  expecting  no  quarter  from 
General  Kearny,  went  off  with  a  small  portion  of  the  enemy's 
force  and  effected  a  treaty  with  Colonel  Fremont,  securing  to  him- 
self immunity  from  his  crimes,"  and  "Col.  Fremont,  angry  that  his 
request  [for  the  governorship]  was  not  at  once  complied  with,  with- 
drew his  troops  from  Gen.  Kearny's  command  without  authority, 
went  to  Com.  Stockton,  and  solicited  from  him  the  appointment  of 

Benton  attributed  many  of  these  statements  to  Emory,  whom  he 
charged  had  been  sent  home  to  "magnify  Kearny  and  the  Army  of 
the  West  as  the  conqueror  of  California,"  "to  deny  and  face  down 
the  truth"  about  the  defeat  at  San  Pasqual,  and  "to  vilify  and  under- 
mine the  reputations"  of  Stockton  and  Fremont.  He  demanded  of 
the  Adjutant  General  that  Fremont  be  recalled  and  tried  by  court- 
martial  to  clear  his  name,  if  he  were  not  already  ordered  home  for 
arrest  and  trial.  After  Fremont's  arrival  Benton  urged  President 

•^■^  C.  I.  WHEAT,  3:58. 

^^  TURNER,   129.  There  were  claims  later  that  Fremont — not  Kearny — had 
taken  the  trouble  to  collect  and  bury  the  bodies. 


Polk  to  order  either  a  court  of  inquiry  or  a  court-martial,  not  only 
for  Fremont's  sake  but  also  so  that  the  government  might  be  fully 
informed  about  what  had  happened  in  California.  The  irate  senator 
was  determined  that  his  son-in-law  be  tried  not  eventually  on 
Kearny's  charge  of  mutiny  and  documents  alone  but  immediately 
on  all  the  unofficial  charges  and  insinuations  against  him,  even  in 
newspapers  if  he  could  manage  to  have  them  included,  but  in  this 
he  was  unsuccessful.  President  Polk  hoped  to  avoid  a  court-martial, 
but  Benton  was  determined  to  see  his  son-in-law  "justified  and 
exalted"  and  his  persecutors  "covered  with  shame  and  confusion." 
Months  later,  as  Fremont's  trial  neared  an  end,  his  first  benefactor, 
Joel  R.  Poinsett,  noted  that  Fremont's  "scrape"  would  do  him  little 
harm  and  that  Kearny  had  been  "inconsistent"  in  his  accounts  of  the 
interviews  with  Fremont,  but  the  former  Secretary  of  War  felt  that 
Fremont  would  have  fared  better  had  not  his  counsel  tried  to 
glorify  his  services.^^ 

Given  wide  coverage  by  the  press,  the  trial  commenced  on  2 
November  at  the  Washington  Arsenal  in  the  District  of  Columbia. 
The  charges  were  mutiny,  with  eleven  specifications;  disobedience 
of  the  lawful  command  of  his  superior  officer,  with  seven  specifi- 
cations; and  conduct  to  the  prejudice  of  good  order  and  military 
discipline,  with  five  specifications.  And  many  of  the  same  specifica- 
tions were  used  to  support  the  three  different  offenses  against  the 
military  code,  a  proceeding  which  Fremont  thought  was  highly 

As  Kearny  was  chief  witness  for  the  prosecution,  Fremont 
attempted  to  show  the  vindictive  temper  of  the  general  toward  him, 
to  impeach  his  motives,  to  exhibit  his  defective  and  equivocating 
memory,  and  to  discredit  him  as  a  witness  before  the  court.  Impar- 
tial observers  might  agree  that  he  succeeded  to  a  remarkable  degree, 
but  in  the  judgment  of  the  court  Kearny's  honor  and  character  re- 
mained "unimpeached."  The  tactic  of  trying  to  discredit  the  witness 
permitted  the  defense  a  wide  latitude  in  questioning,  but  only  a 
few  of  its  many  subjects  and  facets  can  be  noted  here. 

Fremont  cited  as  an  exhibition  of  his  punitive  temper  Kearny's 
failure  to  report  to  the  War  Department  the  recovery  of  the  how- 

"  Poinsett  to  Gouverneur  Kemble,  4  Jan.   1848,  calendared  in  heilman  & 
LEVIN,  no.  571. 


itzer  which  had  been  lost  at  San  Pasqual,"^''  and  as  evidence  of  his 
faiHng  memory  the  general's  inability  to  remember  that  it  was 
Christopher  Carson  who  brought  to  his  headquarters  Fremont's 
17  January  letter.  He  implied  that  there  was  something  lacking  in 
Kearny's  credibility  when  the  latter  testified  that  he  knew  not  the 
nature  of  the  reorganization  which  Stockton  and  Fremont  contem- 
plated making  in  the  California  Battalion  or  even  that  Gillespie's 
company  had  been  part  of  the  battalion.  Fremont  accused  the  gen- 
eral of  attempting  to  keep  Gillespie  and  other  witnesses  away  from 
the  trial  and  of  drawing  up  questions  for  his  own  interrogation. 
Furthermore,  he  charged  the  prosecution  with  deliberately  not  call- 
ing William  H.  Emory  as  a  witness,  thus  forcing  the  defense  to  do 
so  and  thereby  sacrificing  Fremont's  right  to  cross-examine;  the 
court  could  not  and  would  not  allow  him  to  impeach  his  own  wit- 
ness. Emory  was  considered  a  key  witness  because  he  had  delivered 
the  order  to  Fremont  forbidding  any  reorganization  in  the  Cali- 
fornia Battalion  without  the  approval  of  Kearny,  and  he  was  also 
the  reputed  source  of  much  of  the  distorted  newspaper  information 
being  given  to  the  public  on  California  affairs. 

Although  much  of  it  was  shaken  during  cross-examination, 
Kearny's  testimony  cast  Fremont  in  the  role  of  bargaining  for  the 
governorship,  in  effect  ascribing  a  base  and  sordid  motive  for  the 
offense  of  mutiny.  Undoubtedly  Fremont  did  desire  the  governor- 
ship and  was  put  in  an  embarrassing  position  when  offered  the 
appointment  by  both  Stockton  and  Kearny.  Kearny  also  inferred 
that  Fremont  had  destroyed  documents,  but  when  pressed  to  ex- 
plain, he  had  to  admit  that  this  was  merely  his  way  of  saying  that 
he  no  longer  possessed  the  originals  and  that  he  did  not  intend  to 
imply  that  Fremont  had  "designedly"  disposed  of  official  papers. 

Stockton  was  the  principal  witness  for  the  defense,  but  unfor- 
tunately for  Fremont,  much  of  his  testimony  had  little  bearing  on 
the  charges,  and  there  is  some  evidence  that  Stockton  and  Kearny 
had  come  to  a  rapprochement  on  the  eve  of  the  commodore's  testi- 

'^**  On  Fremont's  arrival  in  Los  Angeles  on  14  Jan.  Kearny's  assistant  sur- 
geon had  written  in  his  diary.  "We  saw  the  howitzer  we  lost  at  San  Pascual 
— the  only  regret  I  had  in  seeing  this  was  that  the  Enemy  should  have  de- 
livered it  up,  before  we  had  an  opportunity  to  take  it,  or  some  other  piece 
from  the  Mexicans"  (griffin  [  1  ],  22:41). 


mony.  Kearny  wrote  his  brother-in-law,  naval  Lieut.  William  Rad- 
ford, whom  Commodore  Biddle  had  permitted  to  come  home  from 
California  with  Kearny,  that  "the  difficulty  between  Commodore 
S(tockton)  and  myself  has  been  adjusted.  I  wrote  to  him  asking  if 
he  alluded  to  me  in  his  letter  of  November  3rd  to  the  editors  of  the 
'Republican.'  He  replied  he  did  not.  We  have  since  that  time  twice 
met  in  the  street  and  we  salute  each  other.  He  says  the  affair  be- 
tween us  is  amicably  and  honorably  adjusted  to  both  parties. 
Colonel  Benton  will  be  very  disappointed  in  the  testimony  of  Com- 
modore S  as  I  think  when  he  hears  it.  I  have  been  led  to  believe  that 
it  will  be  much  more  against  the  defense  than  in  its  favor."^^  Stock- 
ton may  not  have  been  suborned,  but  was  he  supporting  Fremont 
come  "bondage  or  stripes,"  as  the  commodore  himself  had  written 
earlier?  Gillespie  learned  of  the  settlement  of  the  misunderstanding 
between  Stockton  and  Kearny  and  also  seems  to  have  moved  toward 
the  general's  camp. 

Finding  Fremont  guilty  on  all  charges  and  specifications,  the 
court  sentenced  him  to  be  dismissed  from  the  Army.  Because  of  his 
distinguished  public  service  and  the  peculiar  circumstances  of  the 
case,  seven  of  the  thirteen  members  recommended  him  to  the 
clemency  of  the  president.  Polk  spent  long  hours  reading  the  pro- 
ceedings of  the  trial  and  sought  the  advice  of  his  cabinet  officials. 
He  noted  in  his  diary  that  he  "was  not  satisfied  that  the  proof  in  the 
case  constituted  'mutiny' "  but  thought  "the  proof  established  dis- 
obedience of  orders  &  conduct  to  the  prejudice  of  good  order  and 
military  discipline."  He  therefore  decided  to  approve  the  sentence  of 
the  court-martial  but  cancel  the  punishment."***  But  when  Fremont 
received  the  order  to  resume  his  sword  and  report  to  duty,  he  sub- 

^^  For  this  and  several  additional  documents  indicating  that  Stockton  and 
Kearny  had  come  to  an  agreement,  see  clarke,  358-61.  These  sources  show 
that  Stockton's  letter  to  the  editor  of  the  Missouri  Republican  had  contained 
insinuations  derogatory  to  Kearny  and  noted  that  those  who  misrepresented 
the  command  in  California  were  guilty  of  falsehood  and  would  "not  go  un- 
whipped  of  justice."  Later  on,  being  approached  by  an  acquaintance  of 
Kearny's,  the  commodore  was  willing  to  say  that  the  letter  could  have  no 
reference  to  Kearny,  if  the  latter  would  admit  that  Stockton  had  been  com- 
mander-in-chief on  the  march  from  San  Diego  to  Los  Angeles.  This  Kearny 
was  willing  to  do,  and  there  was  a  satisfactory  exchange  of  letters  between 
the  two  officers. 

-•"polk,  3:336-38. 


mitted  his  resignation  from  the  service,  refusing  to  admit  in  any 
way  the  justice  of  the  decision  against  him. 

So  bitter  was  the  trial,  and  so  savage  and  vindictive  was  Benton 
in  his  long  Senate  speech^^  opposing  the  nomination  of  Kearny  for 
the  brevet  of  major  general,  that  it  is  difficult  to  give  credence  to  a 
story  that  circulated  in  the  newspapers  shortly  after  the  death  of 
Kearny  in  St.  Louis  on  31  October  1848.  This  was  to  the  effect  that 
Mrs.  Fremont  had  proposed  to  Mrs.  Kearny  a  reconciliation  between 
their  husbands.  The  message,  so  the  story  goes,  was  not  delivered 
because  Mrs.  Kearny  did  not  want  to  disturb  her  dying  husband.  In 
a  card  in  the  National  lntelUge?7cer  Benton  emphatically  denied  that 
"any  message  of  any  kind"  had  been  sent  by  the  Fremonts  and 
charged  Emory  with  originating  the  false  story.  And  Emory  does 
indeed  seem  to  have  been  the  medium  through  which  the  story 
reached  the  Baltimore  Patriot.^'^  Kearny's  brother-in-law,  John  D. 
Radford,  took  note  of  the  reconciliation  story  as  it  appeared  in  the 
Herald  of  Religious  Liberty  and  denied  the  deliverance  of  a  mes- 
sage, adding,  "Surgeon  Wheaton  of  the  Army  brought  such  a 
message  as  coming  from  Col.  Brant:  it  was  delivered  to  Mrs.  Kearny 
by  him  and  there  it  rested."*^  Col.  Joshua  B.  Brant  was  an  acquain- 
tance of  Kearny.  He  was  married  to  Benton's  niece,  and  when  Fre- 
mont returned  from  California  under  arrest,  he  received  his  callers 
at  Brant's  St.  Louis  residence. 

However  much  friends  might  have  desired  it,  it  is  doubtful  that 
the  Fremonts  would  have  initiated  a  reconciliation.  Fremont  was 
out  of  the  Army,  and  even  the  most  blatant  opportunist  would  have 
nothing  to  gain  by  such  a  move.  In  her  old  age  Mrs.  Fremont  was 
still  convinced  that  Kearny  had  perjured  himself  at  her  husband's 
court-martial.  By  that  time,  too,  she  was  able  to  write  a  dramatic 

■*^  Appendix  to  the  Congressional  Globe,  July  1848,  30th  Cong.,  1st  sess., 
pp.  977-1040. 

■*^  See  the  "cards"  of  Benton  and  Emory  in  the  National  Intelligencer,  13 
and  14  Dec.  1848;  unsigned  draft  of  a  letter  (probably  by  Davidge,  a  Senate 
clerk  to  the  Claims  Committee)  to  the  editors  of  the  National  Intelligencer; 
and  J.  Hooker  to  Emory,  22  Dec.  1848  (CtY — W.  H.  Emory  Papers).  In  his 
letter  Hooker  affirmed  making  a  statement  that  "a  verbal  message  was  de- 
livered to  Mrs.  Kearny  in  the  name  of  Mrs.  Fremont"  to  the  effect  that  "Mr. 
&  Mrs.  Fremont  had  buried  &  ceased  to  cherish  all  bitterness  of  feeling  to- 
wards him  [Kearny]." 

*^  Printed  in  clarke,  385-86. 


but  highly  unlikely  account  of  an  overture  of  reconciliation.  "Gen- 
eral Kearny  who  lived  in  St.  Louis  sent  his  physician  old  Dr.  Beau- 
mont, to  ask  me  to  come  and  see  him,  he  was  dying,  and  would  like 
to  ask  my  forgiveness.  I  told  Dr.  Beaumont  I  could  not  go,  I  could 
not  forgive  him.  There  was  a  little  grave  between  us  I  could  not 



Fremont's  appearances  at  his  general  court-martial  had  no  sooner 
ended  when  he  urged  upon  Congress  the  wisdom  and  justice  of 
paying  the  debts  incurred  in  the  conquest  and  governance  of  Cali- 
fornia during  the  turbulent  years  of  1846  and  1847,  for  which  a 
sufficient  amount  of  naval  funds  had  not  been  available.  These  so- 
called  California  Claims,  which  were  to  plague  Fremont  and  Con- 
gress for  many  years,  were  owed  to  four  groups  of  people.  The  first 
set  of  claimants  was  Californians  who  had  had  their  property  seized 
by  the  Bear  Flaggers.  The  second  was  both  Californians  and  Ameri- 
cans who  had  furnished  supplies,  sometimes  unwillingly,  to  the 
California  Battalion,  and  for  the  most  part  had  been  given  only 
receipts.  The  third  was  largely  businessmen  who  had  advanced 
Fremont  money,  often  at  high  rates  of  interest,  during  his  gov- 
ernorship. And  the  fourth  was  the  volunteers  who  had  received 
receipts— not  money— for  their  services.  The  government  was  mor- 
ally bound  to  make  a  speedy  payment  of  all  these  claims  before 
hardship  forced  the  small  claimant  to  part  with  his  "promise"  at 
a  fraction  of  its  value. 

In  fact,  the  existence  of  the  unpaid  claims  was  diminishing  Fre- 
mont's popularity  and  causing  great  anxiety  in  California.  A  public 
meeting  in  San  Fancisco  in  June  1847  protested  against  the  possibil- 
ity of  his  being  returned  to  California  as  governor  and  appointed 
a  Committee  of  Eight  to  prepare  and  produce  "reliable  instances 
of  his  misconduct."  The  protest  was  occasioned  by  a  petition  which 
had  been  circulated  first  in  the  south  and  then  in  the  north  asking 
President  Polk  to  appoint  Fremont  governor,  and  support  for  the 
petition  was  being  obtained  by  hints  that  the  explorer's  return 
would  speed  a  settlement  of  the  debts.  The  Californian  took  note 

^"^  Pp.  70,  80,  of  Jessie  B.  Fremont's  unpublished  memoirs  (CU-B).  nevins, 
342,  CLARKE,  383,  and  de  voto,  482,  take  note  of  her  story.  "A  little  grave"  is 
a  reference  to  the  death  of  Benton  Fremont  on  6  Oct.  1848,  less  than  three 
months  after  his  birth.  The  mother  attributed  the  poor  health  of  her  baby 
to  the  ordeal  she  underwent  during  her  husband's  court-martial. 



of  the  disenchantment  with  Fremont,  but  it  wanted  to  know  how 
Commodore  Biddle  and  General  Kearny,  who  claimed  to  be  the 
superior  officers,  could  take  from  Stockton  and  Fremont  in  the 
name  of  the  United  States  the  country  and  government  property, 
at  the  same  time  refusing  to  pay  debts  accruing  on  account  of  the 
war.  "We  have  never  been  able  to  ascertain  the  difference  between 
the  man  who  wrongfully  takes  property  and  he  who  wrongfully 
keeps  it."'" 

Fremont's  memorial  was  referred  to  the  Senate  Military  Affairs 
Committee,  and  its  subcommittee,  of  which  Benton  was  a  member, 
took  testimony  on  the  necessity,  nature,  and  amount  of  the  indebted- 
ness which  had  been  incurred.  Early  in  March  Senator  Lewis  Cass 
introduced  a  bill  appropriating  $700,000  and  naming  Fremont  and 
two  other  battalion  officers — paymaster  Pierson  B.  Reading  and 
commissary  officer  Samuel  J.  Hensley — commissioners  to  adjudicate 
the  claims.  After  a  hard  struggle  the  bill  finally  passed  the  Senate, 
but  in  the  House,  one  week  before  adjournment,  a  substitute  bill 
was  reported,  reducing  the  appropriation  to  $500,000  and  appointing 
more  nonpartisan  commissioners.  "It  was  very  plainly  seen,"  Gilles- 
pie wrote  Abel  Stearns,  "that  Fremont  had  made  up  a  little  family 
party,  which  did  not  suit  the  judgment  of  disinterested  persons.  It 
was  generally  understood  that  I  was  to  have  been  one  of  the  Com- 
missioners; but  I  have  been  informed,  I  was  considered  too  inde- 
pendent &  not  sufficiently  agreeable,  consequently  was  left  out." 

Whether  Gillespie  was  "left  out"  because  he  was  "too  independent" 
of  the  Benton-Fremont  forces  or  for  some  other  reason  is  not  clear. 
Emory  wrote  Jefferson  Davis  that  he  had  some  letters  from  Gillespie 
that  told  a  different  story  on  California  than  the  one  Gillespie  told 
before  the  subcommittee  of  the  Senate  Military  Affairs  Committee, 
when  the  prospect  of  being  a  commissioner,  with  its  consequent 
remuneration,  was  "glittering  in  the  eyes  of  the  deponent. "^^  But 
it  was  clear  that  the  letters  of  Col.  Jonathan  D.  Stevenson  and  Gov- 
ernor Richard  B.  Mason,  setting  forth  some  of  Fremont's  financial 

^^  California  Star,  19  fune  1847;  Calijornian.  12  June  1847.  William  Garner 
wrote  that  William  H.  Russell  employed  a  shoemaker  to  circulate  the  petition 
(garner,  184-85). 

^"^  Congressional  Globe,  1847-48.  30th  Cong.,  1st  sess.,  pp.  423,  604-8,  627- 
31,  676-78,  685,  696-98,  700-708,  1064;  Report  on  Bill  Regarding  California 
Claims,  House  Report  817,  30th  Cong.,  1st  sess..  Serial  527;  Emory  to  Davis, 
14  May  1848  (ICHi). 


transactions  in  Los  Angeles  and  making  it  appear  that  he  intended 
to  defraud  the  government,  were  doing  their  work.  The  House  ad- 
journed with  the  intention  of  considering  the  CaUfornia  Claims  at 
the  next  session,  but  nothing  was  heard  of  the  subject  for  four  years. 
Fremont  did  not  write  a  full  scientific  report  of  his  third  expedi- 
tion as  he  had  for  the  first  and  second,  but  he  supervised  the  draw- 
ing of  a  map  of  Oregon  and  Upper  California  by  Charles  Preuss 
and  produced   a  short  Geographical  Memoir,  to  be  published   in 
Vol.  3,  to  accompany  that  map.  The  plants  he  collected  were  again 
placed  at  the  disposal  of  John  Torrey,  for  the  botanist  and  explorer 
hoped  eventually  to  make  arrangements  with  the  government  for 
the  publication  of  a  general  account  of  the  botany  of  California. 
When  this  prospect  dimmed,  Torrey  described  ten  of  the  genera  in 
Plantce  VremontiancE,  published  in  1853  in  the  Smithsomaii  Contri- 
butions to  Knowledge,  each  subject  illustrated  by  a  plate  drawn  by 
Isaac  Sprague,  an  unrivaled  botanical  artist.  The  little  botanical 
memoir,  which  is  also  to  be  published  in  Vol.  3,  is  limited  in  scope, 
although  Fremont  had  sent  back  hundreds  of  species  of  plants  from 
both  Bent's  Fort  and  San  Francisco.  Those  from  the  Pacific  Coast 
came  by  the  Erie,  and  Torrey  wrote  a  fellow  scientist,  Jacob  Whit- 
man Bailey,  a  description  of  how  they  had  been  packed.  "There 
were  two  huge  cases— filled  with  the  tin  cases."  They  were  "soldered 
up  after  being  filled  with  plants— then  guarded  by  a  strong  frame 
of  wood,  &  finally  sowed  up  in  a  green  cowhide."  Torrey  was  al- 
ready  looking  forward   to   the  fourth  expedition   and   the  plants 
which  might  come  into  his  hands.'*' 

No  doubt  his  early  California  experiences,  and  especially  the  or- 
deal of  the  court-martial— a  "Dreyfus"  case,  Jessie  later  called  it- 
were  frustrating  to  the  ambitious  young  explorer,  but  Fremont  bore 
his  setbacks  well.  At  the  beginning  of  the  1845  expedition  the  artist 
Alfred  S.  Waugh  had  found  him  "a  pale  intellectual  looking  young 
man,  modest  and  unassuming,  seemingly  more  accustomed  to  the 
refinements  and  luxuries  of  life,  than  to  the  toils  and  dangers  of  the 
wilderness."  Waugh  had  expected  "a  man  of  herculean  frame"  but 
found  one  "small  in  stature  and  delicately  formed,— voice  low  and 
musical,  and  of  manners  bland  and  gentlemanly.  ...  He  had  no 
outward  indications  of  the  mountain  traveller  about  him;  all  was 

^"^  Torrey  to  Bailey,  1  July  1848  (Museum  of  Science,  the  Library,  Science 
Park,  Boston — J.  W.  Bailey  Papers). 


quiet,  well  bred,  and  retireing.  His  conversation  was  modest,  in- 
structive and  unpretending,  with  a  grace  and  suavity  that  irresistably 
won  all  who  approached  him.  Yet  in  his  eye,  you  saw  something 
which  shewed  contempt  of  danger  and  proclaimed  him  a  man  to 
be  obeyed  under  all  circumstances."^'*  The  events  of  1847-48  had 
added  a  touch  of  bitterness  to  Fremont's  character,  and  he  suffered 
another  defeat  and  humiliation  in  the  failure  of  Congress  to  appro- 
priate money  for  continuing  his  topographical  surveys  beyond  the 
Mississippi.  But  there  was  a  tenacity  and  a  resiliency  about  him  that 
would  not  be  denied:  soon  he  was  seeking  private  backing  for  a 
railroad  survey  from  St.  Louis  to  California,  and  late  October  found 
him  setting  out  once  more  for  the  Pacific  Coast. 


The  Documents 

The  original  text  is  followed  as  closely  as  the  demands  of  typog- 
raphy will  permit,  with  several  departures  based  on  common  sense 
and  the  current  practice  of  scholars.  In  the  matter  of  capitalization 
the  original  is  followed,  unless  the  writer's  intention  is  not  clear,  in 
which  case  we  resort  to  modern  usage.  Occasionally,  in  the  interests 
of  clarity,  a  long,  involved  sentence  is  broken  into  two  sentences. 
Missing  periods  at  the  ends  of  sentences  are  supplied,  dashes  termi- 
nating sentences  are  supplanted  by  periods,  and  superfluous  dashes 
after  periods  are  omitted.  In  abbreviations,  raised  letters  are  brought 
down  and  a  period  supplied  if  modern  usage  calls  for  one.  Words 
underscored  in  manuscript  are  italicized.  The  complimentary  clos- 
ing is  run  in  with  the  preceding  paragraph,  and  a  comma  is  used 
if  no  other  end  punctuation  is  present.  The  acute  accent  mark  on 
the  e  in  Fremont  is  supplied  when  it  appears  in  the  document  and 
omitted  where  it  does  not  appear,  but  it  is  used  in  all  of  our  own 
headings  and  references  to  Fremont.  Procedures  for  dealing  with 
missing  or  illegible  words,  conjectural  readings,  etc.  are  shown  in 
the  list  of  symbols,  pp.  li-lii.  When  in  doubt  about  how  to  proceed 
in  a  trivial  matter,  we  have  silently  followed  modern  practice;  if 
the  question  is  more  important,  the  situation  is  explained  in  a  note. 

^^  WAUGH,   15. 


Because  Jessie  B.  Fremont  wrote  and  signed  so  many  of  her  hus- 
band's letters,  we  have  felt  that  there  should  be  some  indication  of 
this  to  the  reader.  Our  solution  to  the  problem  is  set  forth  in  the  list 
of  symbols. 

When  a  related  document  or  letter  is  used — that  is,  not  one 
directly  to  or  from  Fremont — extraneous  portions  are  deleted,  and 
the  deletion  is  indicated  by  a  symbol.  The  present  volume  contains 
more  related  documents  than  did  Vol.  1,  since  we  have  tried  not 
only  to  avoid  repeated  summaries  but  to  give  precision  of  meaning, 
particularly  in  the  development  of  the  controversy  between  Stephen 
Watts  Kearny  and  Fremont.  Some  of  the  letters  of  Thomas  H. 
Benton  and  William  C.  Jones  are  really  Fremont  documents;  the 
two  were  his  lawyers  at  the  time  of  his  court-martial. 

The  financial  vouchers  covering  this  period  are  too  numerous  and 
complex  to  continue  the  policy  of  printing  them  all.  Consequently, 
only  selected  vouchers,  requests,  claims,  and  receipts  are  included, 
in  order  to  show  how  the  war  in  California  was  being  financed  or 
to  document  an  interesting  bit  of  history,  such  as  the  inclusion  of  the 
"Tularie"  Indians  in  the  California  Battalion. 

Many  of  the  vouchers,  receipts,  and  other  papers  relating  to  the 
settlement  of  the  California  Claims  as  well  as  the  detailed  proceed- 
ings and  decisions  of  the  California  Claims  Board  are  in  the  Records 
of  the  Office  of  the  Quartermaster  General  in  the  National  Archives. 
Useful  printed  summaries  of  the  claims  and  decisions  of  the  board 
are  the  reports  of  the  Secretary  of  War  to  the  Senate,  especially 
Senate  Exec.  Doc.  63,  34th  Cong.,  1st  sess..  Serial  821.  Service 
vouchers  for  men  of  the  third  expedition  are  in  the  Records  of  the 
United  States  General  Accounting  Office,  particularly  the  microfilm 
collection  known  as  T-135. 

Because  Fremont  collected  in  and  wrote  extensively  on  natural  his- 
tory, mainly  botany,  on  his  first  two  western  expeditions,  we  gave 
those  matters  a  good  deal  of  attention  in  Vol.  1.  Plants  mentioned 
in  the  present  volume,  either  by  binomial  or  common  names,  may 
usually  be  identified  by  referring  to  the  index  of  Vol.  1. 

Because  the  proceedings  of  the  1847-48  court-martial  are  quite 
long,  they  are  presented  as  a  separately  bound  supplement. 

The  Notes 

The  first  manuscript  indicated  is  the  one  from  which  the  tran- 
scription has  been  made;  other  copies,  if  known,  are  listed  next.  If 


endorsements  or  addresses  are  routine,  their  presence  is  merely 
noted,  but  if  they  contribute  useful  information,  they  are  quoted  in 
full.  For  example,  see  the  endorsement  on  the  letter  of  Thomas  H. 
Benton  to  Roger  Jones,  22  August  1847,  Doc.  No.  208,  concerning 
Benton's  letter  to  have  Fremont  ordered  home  from  California  for 
arrest  and  trial. 

Material  taken  from  printed  texts  is  so  indicated  (printed,  larkin, 
4:239-41),  but  no  attempt  is  made  to  record  other  printed  versions. 

Unless  previously  done  in  Vol.  1,  senders,  receivers,  and  persons 
referred  to  in  the  manuscripts  are  briefly  identified  at  first  mention. 
For  senders  and  receivers,  this  identification  is  made  in  the  first 
paragraph  of  the  notes  and  no  reference  number  is  used.  The  reader 
can  easily  find  the  identification  of  an  individual  by  locating  in  the 
index  the  page  on  which  he  is  first  mentioned. 

With  the  exception  of  Hubert  Howe  Bancroft's  Register  of  Pio- 
neer Inhabitatits  of  California,  1542-1848,  no  source  is  cited  for  the 
kind  of  biographical  information  to  be  found  in  standard  direc- 
tories, genealogies,  and  similar  aids. 

Names  of  authors  in  small  capitals  are  citations  to  sources  listed 
in  the  bibliography  on  pp.  491-501.  This  device  enables  us  to  keep 
many  long  titles  and  other  impedimenta  out  of  the  notes.  In  the 
case  of  two  or  more  works  by  the  same  author,  a  number  is  assigned, 
as  in  ROGERS  [1].  When  a  published  work  is  being  discussed,  not 
merely  cited,  we  often  list  it  fully  by  author  and  title  in  the  notes. 

To  avoid  the  constant  repetition  of  the  Fremont  names,  we  have 
freely  used  the  initials  JCF  and  JBF  for  John  Charles  and  Jessie. 



























Libraries  and  Archives,  as  Designated 

BY  THE  Natio7ial  Union  Catalog 

OF  THE  Library  of  Congress 

California  State  Library,  Sacramento 

Scripps  College,  Claremont,  Calif. 

Southwest  Museum,  Los  Angeles 

University  of  California  at  Los  Angeles 

Henry  E.  Huntington  Library,  San  Marino,  Calif. 

Yale  University,  New  Haven,  Conn. 

Bancroft  Library,  University  of  California  at  Berkeley 

Library  of  Congress 

Chicago  Historical  Society,  Chicago 

University  of  Illinois,  Urbana 

Filson  Club,  Louisville,  Ky. 

Minnesota  Historical  Society,  St.  Paul 

Missouri  Historical  Society,  St.  Louis 

University  of  Missouri,  Columbia 

New- York  Historical  Society,  New  York 

Cornell  University,  Ithaca,  N.Y. 

Princeton  University,  Princeton,  N.J. 

Columbia  University,  New  York 

New  York  Botanical  Garden,  Bronx  Park,  New  York 

Academy  of  Natural  Sciences,  Philadelphia 

Historical  Society  of  Pennsylvania,  Philadelphia 

National  Archives  Record  Groups 

Records  of  the  Bureau  of  Naval  Personnel 

Naval  Records  Collection  of  the  Office  of  Naval  Records 

and  Library 

Records  of  the  General  Land  Office 

Records  of  the  Department  of  State 

Records  of  the  Office  of  the  Chief  of  Engineers 


DNA-92  Records  of  the  Office  of  the  Quartermaster  General,  CaH- 

fornia  Claims  Board,  1847-55 
DNA-94  Records  of  the  Adjutant  General's  Office 

DNA-107         Records  of  the  Office  of  the  Secretary  of  War 
DNA-153         Records  of  the  Judge  Advocate  General's  Office 
DNA-217         Records  of  the  United  States  General  Accounting  Office 

(T-135  denotes  a  collection  of  microfilm  documents  in  this 

Record  Group.) 
DNA-393         Records  of  United  States  Continental  Army  Commands 

Other  Symbols  and  Editorial  Aids 

AD  Autograph  document 

ADS  Autograph  document,  signed 

ADS-JBF         John   C.  Fremont  document   with  text  and   signature  in 

Jessie  B.  Fremont's  hand 
AL  Autograph  letter 

ALS  Autograph  letter,  signed 

ALS-JBF         John  C.  Fremont  letter  with  text  and  signature  in  Jessie  B. 

Fremont's  hand 
D  Document 

DS  Document,  signed 

DS-JBF  Document,  Fremont's  name  signed  by  Jessie 

f/w  Filed  with 

JBF  Jessie  Benton  Fremont 

JCF  John  Charles  Fremont 

Lbk  Letterbook  copy 

LR  Letter  received 

LS  Letter  sent 

RC  Receiver's  copy 

RG  Record  Group 

SC  Sender's  copy 

[  ]  Word  or  phrase  supplied  or  corrected.  Editorial  remarks 

within  text  are  italicized  and  enclosed  in  square  brackets, 
[?]  Conjectural  reading  or  conjectural  identification  of  an  ad- 

[.  .  .]  A  word  or  two  missing  or  illegible.  Longer  omissions  are 

specified  in  footnotes. 
<   >  Word    or    phrase    deleted    from    manuscript,    usually    by 

sender.  The  words  are  set  in  italics. 
....  Unrelated  matter  deleted  by  the  editor.  The  symbol  stands 

alone,  centered  on  a  separate  line. 


The  1845  Expedition 

and  the  Clash  with  the 


1.   Excerpt  from  the  Memoirs 

[26  May-16  Aug.  1845] 

Concurrently  with  the  Report  upon  the  second  expedition  the 
plans  and  scope  of  a  third  one  had  been  matured.  It  was  decided 
that  it  should  be  directed  to  that  section  of  the  Rocky  Mountains 
which  gives  rise  to  the  Arkansas  River,  the  Rio  Grande  del  Norte 
of  the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  and  the  Rio  Colorado  of  the  Gulf  of  Cali- 
fornia; to  complete  the  examination  of  the  Great  Salt  Lake  and  its 
interesting  region;  and  to  extend  the  survey  west  and  southwest  to 
the  examination  of  the  great  ranges  of  the  Cascade  Mountains  and 
the  Sierra  Nevada,  so  as  to  ascertain  the  lines  of  communication 
through  the  mountains  to  the  ocean  in  that  latitude.  And  in  ar- 
ranging this  expedition,  the  eventualities  of  war  were  taken  into 

The  geographical  examinations  proposed  to  be  made  were  in 
great  part  in  Mexican  territory.  This  was  the  situation:  Texas  was 
gone"  and  California  was  breaking  off  by  reason  of  distance;  the 
now  increasing  American  emigration  was  sure  to  seek  its  better 
climate.  Oregon  was  still  in  dispute;  nothing  was  settled  except  the 
fact  of  a  disputed  boundary;  and  the  chance  of  a  rupture  with  Great 
Britain  lent  also  its  contingencies. 

Mexico,  at  war  with  the  United  States,  would  inevitably  favor 
English  protection  for  California.  English  citizens  were  claiming 
payment  for  loans  and  indemnity  for  losses.  Our  relations  with 
England  were  already  clouded,  and  in  the  event  of  war  with  Mexico, 

if  not  anticipated  by  us,  an  English  fleet  would  certainly  take  pos- 
session of  the  Bay  of  San  Francisco. 

For  use  in  such  a  contingency  the  only  available  force  was  our 
squadron  in  the  North  Pacific,  and  the  measures  for  carrying  out 
the  design  of  the  President  fell  to  the  Navy  Department.  During  the 
year  such  precautionary  measures  as  were  practicable  were  taken, 
especially  by  the  vigilant  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  Mr.  [George]  Ban- 
croft, whose  orders  continuously  evince  comprehending  foresight 
and  insistence.  Imbued  with  the  philosophy  of  history,  his  mind 
was  alive  to  the  bearing  of  the  actual  conditions,  and  he  knew  how 
sometimes  skill  and  sometimes  bold  action  determine  the  advantages 
of  a  political  situation;  and  in  this  his  great  desire  was  to  secure  for 
the  United  States  the  important  one  that  hung  in  the  balance.  In 
the  government  at  Washington  he  was  the  active  principle,  having  the 
activity  of  brain  and  keen  perception  that  the  occasion  demanded. 
With  him  Mr.  Benton  had  friendly  personal  relations  of  long 

As  affairs  resolved  themselves,  California  stood  out  as  the  chief 
subject  in  the  impending  war;  and  with  Mr.  Benton  and  other 
governing  men  at  Washington  it  became  a  firm  resolve  to  hold  it  for 
the  United  States.  To  them  it  seemed  reasonably  sure  that  California 
would  eventually  fall  to  England  or  to  the  United  States  and  that 
the  eventuality  was  near.  This  was  talked  over  fully  during  the 
time  of  preparation  for  the  third  expedition,  and  the  contingencies 
anticipated  and  weighed.  The  relations  between  the  three  countries 
made  a  chief  subject  of  interest  about  which  our  thoughts  settled 
as  the  probability  of  war  grew  into  certainty.  For  me,  no  distinct 
course  or  definite  instruction  could  be  laid  down,  but  the  proba- 
bilities were  made  known  to  me  as  well  as  what  to  do  when  they 
became  facts.  The  distance  was  too  great  for  timely  communication; 
but  failing  this  I  was  given  discretion  to  act.  The  instructions  early 
sent,  and  repeatedly  insisted  upon,  to  the  officer  commanding  our 
Pacific  squadron,  gave  specific  orders  to  be  strictly  followed  in  the 
event  of  war.  But  these  frequent  discussions  among  the  men  who 
controlled  the  action  of  the  Government,  gave  to  me  the  advantage 
of  knowing  more  thoroughly  what  were  its  present  wishes,  and  its 
intentions  in  the  event  of  war.  And  so  it  came  that  as  soon  as  war 
was  sure  between  Mexico  and  ourselves.  Lieutenant  [Archibald  H.] 
Gillespie  was  despatched  with  instructions;  and  with  letters  which, 

if  intercepted  when  crossing  Mexico,  would  convey  no  meaning  to 
others  while  to  me  they  would  be  clear.^  Plans  and  expressions  re- 
lating to  the  future  home  in  California  were  known  by  me  to  be 
intended  as  relating  to  its  occupation  by  the  United  States. 

Mrs.  Fremont  was  to  have  accompanied  me  to  the  frontier,  but 
the  dangerous  illness  of  Mrs.  Benton  kept  her  home.  I  went  off 
with  only  Jacob  and  Chinook,  who  had  been  recalled  from  Phila- 
delphia, and  was  glad  to  go  back  to  his  people."* 

The  Quaker  family  had  been  interested  in  him  and  careful  to 
give  him  such  rudiments  of  practical  knowledge  as  he  might  be 
able  to  put  to  good  use.  But  he  was  twenty  years  old  when  he  left 
the  Columbia  with  me;  intelligent,  with  set  character  formed  among 
the  habits  of  Indian  life,  as  ineradicable  from  Indian  manhood  as 
his  love  of  free  range  from  a  wild  horse.  How  far  his  brief  education 
was  likely  to  influence  his  life  was  made  strikingly  clear  to  us  when 
on  the  evening  he  reached  Washington  he  exhibited  the  parting 
gifts  which  he  had  received  from  his  friends.  Among  these  was  a 
large  Bible  which  had  been  made  attractive  in  his  eyes  by  its  orna- 
mentation. "Chinook  been  a  Quaker  all  winter" — "Here,"  he  added, 
with  the  short  Indian  laugh  of  pleasure,  "Chinook  put  here  name 
all  wife,  and  all  horse." 

The  knowledge  which  his  eyes  had  taken  in  would  be  useful 
among  his  people.  He  was  the  son  of  a  chief,  and  the  stories  he  could 
tell  of  his  life  among  the  whites  would  add  to  his  importance;  and 
the  kind  treatment  he  had  received  would  dispose  himself  and  them 
to  be  friendly  to  the  Americans. 

The  Indian  boys  [Juan  and  Gregorio]  who  had  spent  a  happy 
winter  in  Kentucky  met  me  at  Saint  Louis,  bringing  with  them 
Sacramento,''  aggressively  well. 

On  the  frontier  I  formed  a  camp  where  my  party  was  quickly 
organized.*'  For  this  expedition  ampler  means  had  been  provided, 
and  in  view  of  uncertain  conditions  the  force  suitably  increased.  In 
addition  to  the  usual  outfit  of  arms  I  had  procured  about  a  dozen 
rifles,  the  best  that  could  be  found;  with  the  object  of  setting  them 
up  as  prizes  for  the  best  marksmen,  to  be  shot  for  during  the  jour- 
ney. Many  of  my  old  men  joined  me.  And  I  had  again  Godey. 

The  animals  I  had  left  on  pasture  were  in  fine  condition;  hard- 
ened by  the  previous  journey  and  thoroughly  rested  they  were  well 
fitted  to  endure  a  campaign.  From  the  Delaware  nation  twelve  men 

had  been  chosen  to  go  with  me.  These  were  known  to  be  good 
hunters  and  brave  men  and  two  of  them  were  chiefs,  Swanok  and 
Sagundai.'  Mr.  Preuss  was  not  with  me  at  this  time;  but  was  now 
in  assured  employment  and  preferred  in  his  comfortable  home  to 
rest  from  the  hardships  of  the  last  journey.  In  his  place  Mr.  Edward 
M.  Kern,  of  Philadelphia,  went  with  me  as  topographer.  He  was 
besides  an  accomplished  artist;  his  skill  in  sketching  from  nature 
and  in  accurately  drawing  and  coloring  birds  and  plants  made  him 
a  valuable  accession  to  the  expedition.  Lieutenants  Abert  and  Peck 
had  been  attached  to  my  command,  and  also  with  me  were  Mr. 
James  McDowell,  a  nephew  of  Mrs.  Benton,  and  Mr.  Theodore 
Talbot,  whose  health  had  been  restored  by  the  previous  journey. 

It  was  getting  late  in  the  year.  The  principal  object  of  the  expedi- 
tion lay  in  and  beyond  the  Rocky  Mountains,  and  for  these  reasons 
no  time  could  be  given  to  examinations  of  the  prairie  region.  The 
line  of  travel  was  directed  chiefly  .to  pass  over  such  country  as  would 
afford  good  camping-grounds;  where  water  and  grass,  and  wood 
and  abundant  game  would  best  contribute  to  maintain  the  health 
of  the  men  and  the  strength  of  the  animals.^  Along  the  route  we 
met  the  usual  prairie  incidents  of  Indians  and  large  game,  which 
furnished  always  wholesome  excitement.  In  those  days  these  broke 
pleasantly  in  upon  the  silence  and  uniformity  of  the  prairie  and 
made  a  good  school  for  the  men.  On  the  high  plains  we  encountered 
a  Cheyenne  village  which  was  out  on  a  hunt.  The  men  came  to 
meet  us  on  the  plain,  riding  abreast  and  their  drums  sounding.  They 
were  in  all  their  bravery,  and  the  formidable  line  was  imposing, 
and  looked  threatening  to  those  of  our  people  who  were  without 
experience  in  an  Indian  country.  Men,  tried  and  fearless  in  accus- 
tomed dangers,  are  often  at  the  first  encounter  nervous  in  those  that 
are  unfamiliar.  But  the  Cheyennes  were  friendly,  and  we  on  our 
side  were  too  strong  for  any  exhibition  of  hostility  or  rudeness;  and 
so  we  gave  the  usual  present  in  exchange  for  friendly  conduct  and 
good  wishes. 

We  had  lost  an  animal  which  in  the  night  strayed  off  from  the 
band,  and  early  on  the  march  next  morning  Basil  [Lajeunesse], 
with  a  companion,  had  been  sent  out  to  look  for  it.  He  did  not  get 
in  at  night  nor  in  the  morning.  I  therefore  remained  encamped  and 
with  a  small  party  went  in  turn  to  look  for  him.  After  a  search  of 
an  hour  or  two  we  discovered  them  halted,  and  apparently  scanning 

the  horizon  around,  in  some  uncertainty  where  to  look  for  us.  We 
were  down  in  a  swale  in  the  ground  about  three  hundred  yards 
away,  and  so  out  of  sight  that  we  had  not  been  seen.  We  thought  to 
try  them,  and  quickly  throwing  off  the  greater  part  of  our  clothes 
we  raised  an  Indian  yell  and  charged.  But  there  was  no  hesitation 
with  them.  They  were  off  their  horses  in  an  instant  and  their 
levelled  pieces  brought  us  to  an  abrupt  halt  and  a  hearty  laugh 
which  we  all  enjoyed  in  having  found  them  safe  and  well. 

Returning  to  camp  our  first  experiment  suggested  another.  The 
camp  lay  in  a  sort  of  broad  gully  below  the  level  of  the  prairie.  It 
was  midday  and  the  people  were  careless  and  more  occupied  by 
getting  the  dinner  than  with  Indians.  Riding  quietly  down  to  the 
hollow  which  gave  an  easy  approach  we  charged  them  with  the 
usual  yell.  Our  charge  gave  them  a  good  lesson,  though  it  lasted 
but  a  moment.  It  was  like  charging  into  a  beehive;  there  were  so 
many  men  in  the  camp  ready  with  their  rifles  that  it  was  very  un- 
safe to  keep  up  our  Indian  character  beyond  the  moment  of  the 
charge.  Still,  like  all  excitements,  it  stirred  the  blood  pleasantly  for 
the  moment. 

On  the  second  of  August  we  reached  Bent's  Fort,  on  the  Arkansas 
River.^  This  was  our  real  point  of  departure.  It  was  desirable  to 
make  a  survey  of  the  prairie  region  to  the  southward,  embracing  the 
Canadian  and  other  rivers.  I  accordingly  formed  a  detached  party, 
in  charge  of  which  I  placed  Lieutenants  Abert  and  Peck,  Lieutenant 
Abert  being  in  chief  command.  Including  these  officers,  the  com- 
mand consisted  of  thirty-three  men,  and  I  had  the  good  fortune  to 
secure  my  friend  Mr.  Fitzpatrick  for  their  guide.^"  I  had  endeavored 
to  obtain  the  services  of  an  Indian  who  knew  well  the  country,  and 
was  a  man  of  great  influence,  especially  among  the  Camanches,  but 
no  offer  that  I  could  make  him  would  induce  him  to  go.^^  It  hap- 
pened that  the  Fort  was  well  provisioned,  and  from  its  supplies  we 
were  able  to  furnish  the  party  with  a  good  outfit.  This  consisted 
principally  of  coffee  and  sugar  for  two  months,  several  boxes  of 
macaroni,  and  a  quantity  of  rice,  together  with  four  fanegas^^  of 
Mexican  flour.  In  addition  they  took  with  them  eight  steers  brought 
up  on  the  prairie  and  therefore  easy  to  drive.  They  were  furnished 
with  four  large  circular  tents,  and  as  the  face  of  the  country  which 
was  covered  by  the  projected  survey  was  not  much  broken,  four 
wagons  were  added  for  their  outfit  and  camp  equipage.^'^  This  out- 

fit  may  appear  luxurious  for  the  prairie,  but  provisions  go  fast  where 
thirty  healthy  men  taking  just  the  right  quantity  of  exercise  are  to 
be  fed  three  times  a  day. 

Mr.  Hatcher,  who  was  a  good  hunter,  was  to  accompany  them  as 
far  as  Bent's  Post  on  the  Canadian.^^ 

On  the  12th  Mr.  Fitzpatrick  took  leave  of  me  and  joined  the 
party.  On  the  same  day  Lieutenant  Abert  changed  his  encampment 
preparatory  to  making  his  start,  and  on  the  14th  the  two  officers 
came  to  take  leave  of  me. 

It  is  well  to  say  here  that  on  the  journey  to  Bent's  Fort  I  had  been 
much  prepossessed  in  their  favor.  They  had  shown  themselves  well 
qualified  for  such  an  expedition  which  as  of  course  was  entirely 
new  to  them.  In  this  journey  they  have  given  evidence  of  the  pru- 
dence and  good  judgment  which  enabled  them  to  carry  through 
successfully  the  expedition  entrusted  to  their  care. 

The  next  day  I  sent  Lieutenant  Abert  his  instructions,  which  were 
to  survey  the  Canadian  from  its  source  to  its  junction  with  the 
Arkansas,  taking  in  his  way  the  Purgatory  River,  and  the  heads 
of  the  Washita;  and  on  the  16th  he  commenced  his  journey  down 
the  Arkansas.^^ 

MEMOIRS,  422-26. 

1.  For  the  orders  under  which  JCF  mounted  his  third  western  expedition, 
see  three  letters  of  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont,  12  Feb.,  10  April,  and  14  May  1845, 
printed  in  Vol.  1 ;  for  a  discussion  of  these  orders,  see  the  introduction  to  this 

It  is  well  to  remember  that  the  Memoirs,  not  published  until  1887,  gave 
ICF  the  advantage  of  hindsight  but  deny  the  reader  the  immediacy  of  a 
contemporary  document.  We  quote  from  this  work  extensively  because  ICF 
did  not  keep  a  journal  on  the  1845  expedition.  That  it  frequently  becomes 
a  self-serving  document,  no  one  can  deny. 

2.  On  1  March  1845  President  Tyler  had  already  signed  the  joint  resolution 
passed  by  Congress  for  the  admission  of  Texas  as  a  state,  and  all  that  re- 
mained was  to  procure  Texas's  assent. 

3.  For  a  discussion  of  ICF's  contention  that  he  had  been  given  discretion — 
even  secret  instructions — to  act  in  California,  see  Doc.  No.  22  and  the  intro- 

4.  Except  for  the  15  Aug.  1845  order  to  lames  W.  Abert  (Doc.  No.  2),  no 
letters  from  ICF  have  been  unearthed  for  a  seven-month  period — from  the 
communique  to  Archibald  Campbell  of  22  May  1845  (printed  in  Vol.  1) 
until  the  letter  to  lessie  of  24  Ian.  1846.  But  the  letters  of  participants,  such 
as  Theodore  Talbot  and  Edward  Kern,  supply  interesting  bits  of  information. 

On  his  way  to  St.  Louis  with  lacob  Dodson  and  Kino,  another  Negro 
servant  in  the  Benton  household,  ICF  stopped  to  visit  Benton  at  his  farm  in 
Kentucky.  Meanwhile  Talbot  and  William  Chinook  pressed  on  down  the 
Ohio  River  to  Cape  Girardeau  and   then   up  the   Mississippi   to   St.   Louis, 


where,  with  the  assistance  of  Robert  Campbell,  Talbot  began  buying  "the 
thousand  things  required  for  the  expedition."  JCF  arrived  in  St.  Louis  on  30 
May  and  immediately  began  the  task  of  engaging  the  men  to  accompany 
him.  Talbot  wrote  a  graphic  description  of  this  process  to  his  sister  Mary  on 
4  June: 

You  ought  to  have  witnessed  the  scene  which  we  had  here  on  Monday. 
Capt.  Fremont  it  seems  gave  notice  to  those  who  wished  to  accompany  him, 
through  the  papers,  saying  that  if  they  collected  at  the  Planters  Warehouse 
(one  of  the  largest  houses  in  the  City  of  that  kind)  that  he  would  explain 
the  objects,  dudes,  pay,  &c.  of  the  Expedidon.  Long  before  the  appointed  hour 
the  house  was  filled  and  Capt.  Fremont  found  it  necessary  to  adjourn  to  an 
open  square.  I  walked  round  to  the  place  of  meedng  about  this  time  with 
Mr.  Bent  to  see  what  was  going  on.  The  whole  street  and  open  space  was 
crowded.  We  could  easily  trace  the  Captain's  motions  by  the  denser  nucleus 
which  moved  hither  and  thither.  They  broke  the  fences  down  and  the  Captain 
finally  used  a  wagon  as  his  rostrum  but  it  was  impossible  for  him  to  make 
himself  heard.  Each  one  being  unwilling  to  allow  his  neighbor  the  advantage 
of  having  a  word  with  or  even  being  seen  by  Fremont.  So  it  was  a  grand 
tustle.  Fremont  at  last  took  refuge  in  a  hotel.  This  house  is  absolutely  besieged 
they  rush  into  his  bedroom  and  all  Jacob's  strength  &  vigilance  has  been  inade- 
quate to  keep  them  out.  The  Captains  last  expedient  is  to  have  himself  locked 
up  and  the  key  taken  off,  this  plan  has  been  highly  successful  though  rather 
inconvenient  for  Jacob  has  once  or  twice  left  him  in  duress  rather  longer  than 
he  desired. 

Talbot  thought  JCF  had  in  general  selected  excellent  personnel,  but  he 
noted  that  "several  however  who  will  not  render  him  much  service  have  been 
thrust  upon  him  in  spite  of  him  through  the  influence  of  their  friends"  and 
hoped  that  these  might  be  replaced  with  good  men  on  the  Arkansas  at  Bent's 
or  the  Pueblo. 

5.  JCF's  saddle  horse,  a  gift  from  John  A.  Sutter  in  1844. 

6.  On  5  June  JCF  rode  the  twenty  miles  from  St.  Louis  to  St.  Charles, 
where  he  took  a  steamboat  for  Westport  Landing.  He  then  encamped  on  the 
prairies  six  or  seven  miles  west  of  Westport  to  superintend  the  making  of 
tents  and  the  reduction  of  chaos  to  order.  Talbot  remained  in  St.  Louis, 
sending  out  men  and  equipment,  until  10  June,  when  he  also  left  for  the 
frontier.  Incessant  rain  hampered  organization,  but  on  23  June  the  camp 
moved  several  miles  farther  from  Westport  to  "get  away  from  civilization 
and  Brandy,"  as  Edward  Kern  expressed  it.  Talbot  had  been  sent  to  Fort 
Leavenworth  on  21  June  for  some  needed  articles,  but  he  returned  in  time  to 
move  with  the  camp  an  additional  live  or  six  miles  on  25  June  and  to  see 
from  ten  to  fourteen  men,  perhaps  dissatisfied  with  strict  discipline,  leave  the 
expedition.  According  to  Isaac  Cooper,  who  went  with  the  party  as  far  as 
Bent's  Fort,  no  one  except  JCF  was  to  keep  a  journal  or  other  memoranda. 
On  26  June  the  expedition,  still  hampered  by  rain,  began  its  slow  but  regular 
progress  west.  On  1  July  two  artists,  Alfred  S.  Waugh  and  John  B.  Tisdale, 
overtook  JCF  and  renewed  their  pleas,  reinforced  with  letters  of  recom- 
mendation, to  go  with  the  expedition,  but  they  were  refused.  They  turned 
back  on  4  July,  as  did  the  two  or  three  ox  carts  which  had  been  carrying 
camp  equipment.  Isaac  Cooper  noted  that  the  usual  order  of  the  train  was 
the  captain  and  the  campmaster,  followed  by  the  carriage  with  the  "square 
black  roof"  carrying  the  captain's  baggage   and   instruments,   and   then   the 

four  wagons,  one  of  which  was  drawn  by  a  six-mule  team.  The  wagons  were 
followed  by  loose  horses  and  mules,  kept  within  certain  bounds  by  several 
horsemen.  Next  came  a  long  train  of  men  on  horseback  leading  pack  mules, 
individually  or  by  twos  and  threes.  For  details  on  the  organization  of  the 
expedition  and  the  division  of  the  camp  into  ten  messes,  see  Talbot  to  Mary 
Talbot,  9  June  1845,  to  Adelaide  Talbot,  15,  18,  and  25  June,  3  July  1845 
(DLC— Talbot  Papers);  Edward  Kern  to  Richard  Kern,  [19]  June  [1845] 
(CSmH);  ms  journal  of  Isaac  Cooper,  1846  (CCS);  i.  cooper,  9:71-73,  146- 
48,  221-22,  290-93,  366-68;  National  Intelligencer,  17  Oct.   1845. 

7.  Some  of  the  Delawares  took  a  shortcut  from  Westport  and  met  the  ex- 
pedition at  Bent's  Fort.  Isaac  Cooper  mentions  this  fact,  as  does  Talbot  in 
a  16  Aug.  letter.  Actually  there  seem  to  have  been  only  nine  Delawares, 
one  of  whom  was  a  small  boy,  a  kind  of  page  or  equerry.  In  a  certificate 
dated  21  March  1857,  printed  in  Memorial  of  the  Delaware  Indians,  Senate 
Doc.  16,  p.  159,  58th  Cong.,  1st  sess..  Serial  4563,  JCF  names  eight:  James 
Swanuck  [Swanok,  Swanick,  Sewanik],  James  Sagundai  [Saghundai,  Se- 
condi,  Secondai],  James  Connor  [Conner],  Delaware  Charley,  Wetowka 
[Wetowah,  Wetowa],  Crane,  Solomon  Everett,  and  Bob  Skirkett.  James 
Swanuck  was  the  son  of  the  principal  chief  of  the  Delawares.  The  chief  was 
erroneously  reported  as  having  been  killed  the  previous  summer  by  the 
Cheyennes.  Sagundai  was  the  uncle  of  the  young  Swanuck  (carter  [2]). 

8.  The  expedition  followed  the  Santa  Fe  Trail  as  far  as  the  Pawnee  fork  of 
the  Arkansas  River,  then  up  the  Pawnee  to  its  head  and  over  to  the  Smoky 
Hill  fork  of  the  Kansas  River.  Traveling  west  on  JCF's  1844  eastbound 
route,  it  reached  the  Arkansas  River  about  twenty-five  miles  below  Bent's 
Fort  (Talbot  to  Adelaide  Talbot,  10  and  16  Aug.  1845,  DLC— Talbot 

9.  Talbot  wrote,  "We  were  welcomed  by  Mr.  St.  Vrain  one  of  the  elder 
partners  of  the  Company  &  Mr.  Geo.  Bent  who  we  saw  last  year  with 
several  others  that  we  had  met  before"  (Talbot  to  Adelaide  Talbot,  16  Aug. 
1845,  DLC— Talbot  Papers).  The  National  Intelligencer,  10  Sept.  1845,  notes 
that  a  letter  had  been  received  in  Washington  from  JCF,  dated  2  Aug.  from 
Bent's  Fort,  but  did  not  give  its  contents;  apparently  the  letter  is  no  longer 

10.  Thomas  Fitzpatrick  was  piloting  Col.  Stephen  Watts  Kearny  and  five 
companies  of  the  1st  Dragoons,  who  were  returning  east  to  Fort  Leavenworth 
from  an  expedition  into  the  Indian  country  as  far  as  South  Pass  on  the 
Oregon  Trail.  Kearny  had  passed  Bent's  Fort  two  or  three  days  before  JCF 
arrived,  and  the  latter  now  sent  a  courier  to  obtain  the  services  of  Fitz- 
patrick as  a  guide  for  Abert's  detachment  and  to  deliver  the  mail  which  he 
had  brought  "from  the  settlements"  for  the  troops  (report  of  Lieut.  William 
B.  Franklin  to  Kearny,  5  Nov.  1845,  pp.  56-57,  DNA-77,  LR,  "F"). 

11.  The  Indian  whom  JCF  originally  tried  to  obtain  as  guide  for  Abert's 
detachment  was  Tahkaibuhl,  a  Kiowa  (abert  [1],  2). 

12.  A  fanega  today  is  approximately  1.6  bushels.  During  the  Santa  Fe 
Trail  period  it  was  measured  as  140  pounds,  or  approximately  two  bushels 
(twitchell,  2:133n).  According  to  Abert,  his  expedition  was  given  eight 
janegas  of  flour. 

13.  Abert  thus  "inherited"  the  wagons  of  the  expedition,  and  JCF  proceeded 
west  without  these  encumbrances. 

14.  Virginia-born  John  L.  Hatcher  (ca.  1812-97)  was  one  of  the  most  able 
and  trusted  of  the  hunters  and  traders  employed  by  William  Bent.  In   1859 


he  settled  in  the  Sonoma  Valley  in  California  but  some  eight  years  later 
moved  to  Oregon,  where  he  bought  a  farm  in  Linn  County  (carter  [3]). 
15.  The  Journal  of  Lt.  J.  W.  Abert,  from  Bent's  Fort  to  St.  Louis,  in  1845, 
Senate  Exec.  Doc.  438,  29th  Cong.,  1st  sess..  Serial  477,  is  a  report  of  this 
detachment  of  JCF's  expedition.  A  new  edition  of  this  journal,  which  ap- 
peared in  1970,  omits  many  of  the  engravings  illustrating  the  congressional 
document,   but   it  contains   watercolors   from   Abert's    1845    sketchbook.   See 

ABERT    [2]. 

2.  Fremont  to  James  W.  Abert 

Bent's  Fort,  Arkansaw  River 
August  15th,  1845 

In  conformity  to  instructions  from  the  Department  directing  an 
extension  of  our  surveys  along  the  base  of  the  southern  Rocky 
Mountains,  you  will  immediately  after  the  reception  of  these  orders 
proceed  to  the  mouth  of  the  Purgatoire  (Las  Animas)  branch  of 
the  Arkansaw,^  and  agreeably  to  the  directions  which  you  have 
already  received  in  greater  detail,  continue  up  that  stream  to  a 
point  where  it  is  intersected  by  the  wagonroad  to  Santa  Fe — crossing 
the  Ratofj,  a  spur  of  the  Rocky  Mountains,  by  way  of  this  road  and 
striking  the  Red  River  (Canadian)  of  the  Arkansaw  a  few  miles 
below  its  issue  from  the  mountains,  you  will  ascend  the  stream  to 
that  place,  and  after  having  carefully  determined  your  position, 
survey  that  river  thence  so  far  down  as  Fort  Ceran,  a  trading  post 
recently  established  by  Mr.  Bent.^ 

Leaving  this  post  by  way  of  Arrow  Creek'^  your  farther  route  will 
be  southwardly  through  the  broken  country  at  the  foot  of  the  Rocky 
Mountains,  crossing  successively  the  Elk  branch^  of  the  Canadian 
and  the  Buffalo  and  Cut  Nose  Creeks'^  of  the  Great  Red  River.  The 
points  on  these  streams  intersected  by  your  line  you  will  of  course 
determine  in  position,  making,  if  necessary  on  account  of  weather, 
some  delay  at  the  head  of  Cut  Nose  Creek,  which  you  are  directed 
strictly  to  consider  the  southern  limit  of  your  exploration. 

You  will  thence  descend  to  the  junction  of  this  stream  with  the 
Buffalo  River,  a  point  which  you  are  also  required  to  determine 
astronomically.  Continuing  your  road  down  the  latter  river  so  far 
as  a  locality  called  the  "Sand  Hills"  you  will  leave  the  waters  of 


Red  River  and  cross  northwardly  to  the  Canadian  Fork  of  the  Ar- 
kansaw  River. 

The  continuation  of  your  route  will  now  be  down  the  Canadian 
Fork,  and  you  will  give  particular  attention,  among  your  astronom- 
ical positions,  to  the  determination  of  the  mouth  of  Wolf  River 
and  the  junction  of  the  Canadian  Fork  with  the  Arkansaw  River. 
Proceeding  from  this  point  immediately  to  the  neighboring  town 
of  Van  Buren  [in  Arkansas]  you  will  be  governed  by  the  state  of 
the  season  in  your  route  to  the  city  of  St.  Louis,  where  your  party 
will  be  discharged,  and  paid  by  Mr.  Robert  Campbell,  who  has  been 
provided  with  the  necessary  funds.  A  statement  of  their  accounts 
will  accompany  this  letter. 

For  the  execution  of  these  duties  you  will  be  furnished  with  a 
party  of  thirty-three  men.  Lieut.  Peck  will  be  attached  to  the  party 
as  your  assistant,  and  Mr.  Thomas  Fitzpatrick  will  accompany  you 
as  guide. 

The  few  astronomical  positions  which  are  here  indicated  to  you 
are  those  only  which  are  to  be  regarded  among  the  more  important 
and  you  will  neglect  no  opportunity  to  multiply  them  along  your 
line  of  travel,  endeavoring  as  frequently  as  possible  to  control  your 
chronometer  by  lunar  distances,  as  I  am  unable  to  furnish  you  with 
instruments  for  other  observations.  It  would  be  well  to  make  a 
little  delay  for  the  determination  of  some  marked  position  on  your 
line  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  boundary  between  the  United  States 
and  Mexico. 

Should  you  find  at  St.  Louis,  no  instructions  for  the  disposition 
of  the  public  property,  I  would  recommend  you  to  leave  this  to  the 
discretion  of  Mr.  Campbell  until  farther  orders  from  the  Chief  of 
the  Topographical  Bureau. 

It  is  expected  that  you  will  so  regulate  your  travel  as  to  reach  the 
city  of  St.  Louis  within  the  present  year,  and  so  far  as  will  be  con- 
sistent with  this  end,  the  above  instructions  are  to  be  considered 
absolute,  and  admitting  of  no  departure  except  where  they  may  be 
rendered  entirely  impracticable  by  the  nature  of  the  country.  Very 
Respectfully  Sir,  Your  Obedient  Servant, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Bt.  Capt.  Topi.  Engrs. 
Lieut.  James  Abert 
Topi.  Engineers 
Fort  William,  Arkansaw  River 


LS,  RC  (DNA-77,  LR).  Endorsed:  "Order  from  Capt.  Fremont  directing 
a  Survey  of  the  Cafiadian  River,  August  15,  1845." 

1.  Purgatoire,  later  corrupted  to  "Picketwire,"  was  the  French  name  for  the 
Purgatory;  Las  Animas  was  the  early  Spanish  name  for  the  same  stream,  a 
shortening  of  El  Rio  de  las  Animas  Perdidas  en  Purgatorio. 

2.  Probably  the  trading  post  established  in  the  winter  of  1843-44  on  Bent's 
Creek  in  northeastern  Hutchinson  County,  Tex.  It  seems  not  to  have  been 
used  very  much  by  the  Bents  after  1845. 

3.  Probably  the  present  White  Deer  Creek. 

4.  Apparently  the  present  Red  Deer  Creek  near  Pampa,  Tex. 

5.  Buffalo  and  Cut  Nose  creeks  were  Indian  names  for  heads  of  the  Washita 
(abert  [1],  6).  The  Washita,  often  called  the  False  Washita,  rises  on  the 
Llano  Estacado  east  of  present  Miami,  Tex.,  and  roughly  parallels  the 
Canadian,  some  ten  to  twenty  miles  below  that  river,  until  it  turns  south.  It 
continues  a  southern  course  until  it  empties  into  the  Red  River  at  the 
Preston  Bend  above  Denison,  Tex.  The  Canadian  flows  eastward  to  the 

3.    Excerpt  from  the  Memoirs 

[16  Aug.  1845-24  Jan.  1846] 

With  Lieutenant  Abert  also  went  Mr.  James  McDowell,  who  de- 
cided to  avail  himself  of  the  survey  to  return  for  the  reason  that 
his  work  would  not  be  carried  into  the  winter,  while  my  journey 
to  the  Pacific  was  expected  to  be  of  long  duration. 

From  the  Fort  I  sent  an  express  to  Carson  at  a  rancho,  or  stock 
farm,  which  with  his  friend  Richard  Owens^  he  had  established 
on  the  Cimarron,  a  tributary  to  the  Arkansas  River.  But  he  had 
promised  that  in  the  event  I  should  need  him,  he  would  join  me. 
And  I  knew  that  he  would  not  fail  to  come.  My  messenger  found 
him  busy  starting  the  congenial  work  of  making  up  a  stock  ranch. 
There  was  no  time  to  be  lost,  and  he  did  not  hesitate.  He  sold  every- 
thing at  a  sacrifice,  farm  and  cattle;  and  not  only  came  himself  but 
brought  his  friend  Owens  to  join  the  party.  This  was  like  Carson, 
prompt,  self-sacrificing,  and  true.  I  received  them  both  with  great 

That  Owens  was  a  good  man  it  is  enough  to  say  that  he  and 
Carson  were  friends.  Cool,  brave,  and  of  good  judgment;  a  good 
hunter  and  good  shot;  experienced  in  mountain  life;  he  was  an 
acquisition,  and  proved  valuable  throughout  the  campaign. 

Godey  had  proved  himself  during  the  preceding  journey,  which 


had  brought  out  his  distinguishing  quaHties  of  resolute  and  aggres- 
sive courage.  Quick  in  deciding  and  prompt  in  acting  he  had  also 
the  French  ela72  and  their  gayety  of  courage. 

"Gai,  gai,  avangons  nous." 
["Gaily,  gaily,  let  us  go  along."] 

I  mention  him  here  because  the  three  men  come  fitly  together, 
and  because  of  the  peculiar  qualities  which  gave  them  in  the  highest 
degree  efficiency  for  the  service  in  which  they  were  engaged. 

The  three,  under  Napoleon,  might  have  become  Marshals,  chosen 
as  he  chose  men.  Carson,  of  great  courage;  quick  and  complete 
perception,  taking  in  at  a  glance  the  advantages  as  well  as  the 
chances  for  defeat;  Godey,  insensible  to  danger,  of  perfect  coolness 
and  stubborn  resolution;  Owens,  equal  in  courage  to  the  others, 
and  in  coolness  equal  to  Godey,  had  the  coup-d'oeil  of  a  chess-player, 
covering  the  whole  field  with  a  glance  that  sees  the  best  move.  His 
dark-hazel  eye  was  the  marked  feature  of  his  face,  large  and  flat 
and  far-sighted. 

Godey  was  a  Creole  Frenchman  of  Saint  Louis,  of  medium  height 
with  black  eyes  and  silky  curling  black  hair  which  was  his  pride. 
In  all  situations  he  had  that  care  of  his  person  which  good  looks 
encourage.  Once  when  with  us  in  Washington,  he  was  at  a  concert; 
immediately  behind  him  sat  the  wife  of  the  French  Minister,  Ma- 
dame Pageot,  who,  with  the  lady  by  her,  was  admiring  his  hair, 
which  was  really  beautiful,  "but,"  she  said,  "C'est  une  perruque." 
They  were  speaking  unguardedly  in  French.  Godey  had  no  idea  of 
having  his  hair  disparaged  and  with  the  prompt  coolness  with 
which  he  would  have  repelled  any  other  indignity  turned  instantly 
to  say,  "Pardon,  Madame,  c'est  bien  a  moi."  The  ladies  were  silenced 
as  suddenly  as  the  touch  on  a  tree  trunk  silences  a  katydid. 

On  the  16th  of  August  I  left  Bent's  Fort  with  a  well-appointed 
compact  party  of  sixty;  mostly  experienced  and  self-reliant  men, 
equal  to  any  emergency  likely  to  occur  and  willing  to  meet  it. 

On  the  20th  of  August  we  encamped  on  the  Arkansas  at  the 
mouth  of  the  FoJitaine  qtu  Botiit  River.  I  had  with  me  good  instru- 
ments for  astronomical  observations,  among  them  a  portable  transit 
instrument.  This  I  set  up,  and  established  here  one  of  the  four 
principal  positions  on  which  depend  the  longitudes  of  the  region 
embraced  in  the  expeditions.  The  longitude  was  determined  by 
moon  culminations  and  the  latitude  by  sextant  observations  of  Po- 
laris and  stars  in  the  south. 


The  resulting  longitude  at  this  position  is  104°  42' 41".  The  lati- 
tude 38°  15' 18^ 

On  the  26th  we  encamped  at  the  mouth  of  the  Great  Canyon  [the 
eastern  end  of  the  Roval  Gorge]  and  next  morning  leaving  the 
[Arkansas]  river  passed  in  our  w^ay  over  a  bench  of  the  mountains 
which  the  trappers  believed  to  be  the  place  where  [Zebulon]  Pike 
was  taken  prisoner  by  the  Mexicans.  But  this  side  of  the  river  was 
within  our  territory.  He  supposed  himself  to  be  on  the  Arkansas 
when  he  was  taken  prisoner  on  the  Rio  del  Norte,  where  he  had 
built  a  stockade." 

Crossing  various  forks  of  the  [Arkansas]  river  we  finally,  on 
September  2d,  reached  and  continued  up  the  main  branch,  having 
on  our  right  the  naked  rock  ridge  of  the  mountain,  and  encamped 
at  night  on  the  head-waters  of  the  Arkansas  in  Mexican  territory; 
in  latitude  39°  20'  38",  longitude  106°  27'  15". 

This  was  pleasant  travelling.  The  weather  now  was  delightful 
and  the  country  beautiful.  Fresh  and  green,  aspen  groves  and  pine 
woods  and  clear  rushing  water,  cool  streams  sparkling  over  rocky 

In  a  pine  grove  at  the  head  of  the  river  we  came  to  our  delightful 
surprise  upon  a  small  herd  of  buffalo,  which  were  enjoying  them- 
selves in  the  shade  and  fresh  grass  and  water .'^  It  was  now  very  rare 
that  these  animals  were  found  so  far  west,  and  this  made  for  us  a 
most  pleasant  and  welcome  incident,  as  it  was  long  now  since  we 
had  parted  from  the  buffalo.  This  must  have  been  a  stray  herd 
which  had  found  its  wav  into  the  upper  mountains  and  they  had 
remained  for  a  long  time  undisturbed.  Sometimes  in  severe  winters 
deer  find  their  wav  into  the  highest  parts  of  the  wooded  mountains, 
and  remain  there,  keeping  fat  and  sheltered  in  the  aspen  groves 
which  furnish  them  food.  Probably  this  little  herd  of  buffalo  had 
done  the  same.  The  Utah  |Ute]  Pass  was  several  days'  journey  to 
the  southeast,  and  this  part  of  the  mountain  [i.e.,  the  Rocky  Moun- 
tains] was  out  of  the  way  of  ordinary  travel. 

Here  along  in  these  mountains  was  one  of  the  pleasantest  grounds 
in  the  journey.  Game  was  plenty;  deer  and  elk.  We  were  some 
days  after  on  the  mountain  slopes,  where  a  lovely  view  extended 
across  a  broad  vallev  to  the  opposite  ridges.  It  was  so  fine  a  view 
that  Kern  sketched  it.  In  looking  over  the  country  I  had  ridden  oflf 
a  mile  or  two  from  the  party,  keeping  along  the  heights  to  enjoy 
the  air  and  views,  when  I  came  upon  a  small  band  of  buffalo,  doubt- 

less  part  of  the  herd  which  we  had  found  in  the  pines  at  the  top  of 
the  mountain.  The  ground  was  rough,  but  we  had  a  fine  race.  I  had 
closed  up  and  was  about  to  fire  when  the  pistol  which  I  held  raised 
went  off,  and  the  ball  passed  so  close  to  my  head  that  I  reined  up 
in  surprise.  My  holster  pistols  were  a  hair-trigger  pair,  and  old 
companions  which  I  liked  for  that,  and  because  they  were  true  as 
a  rifle.  "Sucre  bo?i  coup,"  Basil  said  of  them  once  when  he  saw  the 
head  of  a  quail  cut  off  at  long  range.  This  time  it  was  my  own  head. 
It  is  in  this  way  that  men  have  been  sometimes  lost  in  the  mountains 
and  never  found.  They  lie  like  the  trunk  of  a  fallen  tree  worn  by 
the  snow  and  rain  until  the  tall,  rank  grass  covers  and  hides  them. 
My  trail  would  not  have  been  taken  in  time  and  it  would  have 
been  by  the  merest  chance  that  any  hunter  would  have  passed  the 

One  of  the  Delawares  had  killed  a  fat  buffalo  cow.  This  singular 
meeting  with  the  buffalo  was  our  last;  and  they  were  probably  the 
last  stragglers  that  ever  reached  the  western  slope  of  the  mountains. 
This  was  the  general  opinion  of  our  people,  whose  experience  would 
be  likely  to  make  it  correct.  The  places  where  I  have  described 
them  made  then  the  broadest  range  of  the  buffalo  from  east  to  west, 
and  make  a  fair  exhibit  of  the  abounding  animal  life  of  the  country. 

Passing  that  night  of  the  4th  on  Piny  River,  an  affluent  of  Grand 
River,  of  the  Colorado  of  the  Gulf  of  California,  we  encamped  the 
next  day  on  the  same  river  at  "Williams  Fishery,"  in  longitude  106° 
44'  21",  latitude  39°  39'  IT.  We  caught  here  a  singular  fish,  which 
was  called  buffalo-fish  from  a  hump  on  the  back,  rising  straight 
up  immediately  behind  the  head. 

Between  fishermen  and  hunters  the  camp  was  abundantly  sup- 
plied in  all  this  part  of  our  journey.  These  wood-clothed  ranges, 
with  their  abundant  game  and  healthful  air,  we  have  seen  described 
as  "impenetrable  deserts  whose  rugged  inaccessibility  barred  all 
passage,  amid  whose  parched  sterility  unfortunate  travelers  were 
exposed  to  death  from  thirst  and  hunger." 

The  character  of  the  mountain  country  has  been  so  fully  given 
in  the  previous  journeys,  that  it  does  not  need  to  be  longer  dwelt 
upon  here.^  On  the  2d  of  October  I  encamped  on  a  branch  of  the 
Timpanogos  [Provo]  River,  and  on  the  10th  reached  the  shore  of 
the  lake  [Utah]  and  its  outlet  at  the  mouth  of  Hugh's  Creek  [Jor- 
dan River?],  on  the  12th.  The  geographical  features  of  the  country 
were  carefully  sketched;  and  astronomical  observations,  for  which 


the  continued  fine  weather  favored  us,  were  made  on  the  different 
affluents  to  the  Grand  and  Green  River  forks  of  the  Great  Colorado. 
The  next  day  we  encamped  at  a  creek  on  the  shores  of  the  Great 
Salt  Lake,  where  I  made  the  second  principal  station  for  longitude. 
These  observations  resulted  in  longitude  112°  06'  08",  and  latitude 
40°  45'  53". 

It  will  be  remarked  that  our  journey  from  the  head  of  the  Arkan- 
sas River  had  been  continuously  in  Mexican  territory,  as  was  all 
of  the  Salt  Lake  vallev.  Two  weeks  were  spent  in  this  valley  and  on 
its  tributarv  streams,  during  which  we  were  occupied  in  fixing 
the  positions  of  various  points,  and  extending  our  examination  into 
and  around  the  lake. 

The  rocky  shores  of  its  islands  were  whitened  by  the  spray  which 
leaves  salt  on  everything  it  touches,  and  a  covering  like  ice  forms 
over  the  water  which  the  waves  throw  among  the  rocks.  This  seems 
to  be  the  dry  season  when  the  waters  recede;  and  the  shores  of  the 
lake,  especially  on  the  south  side,  are  whitened  with  incrustations 
of  fine  white  salt.  The  shallow  arms  of  the  lake,  under  a  slight 
covering  of  briny  water,  present  beds  of  salt  extending  for  miles. 
Plants  and  bushes  blown  by  the  winds  upon  these  fields  are  entirely 
incrusted  with  crystallized  salt.  The  stem  of  a  small  twig,  less  than 
the  size  of  a  goose-quill,  from  the  southeastern  shore,  showed  a 
formation  of  more  than  an  inch  thick  of  crystallized  salt.  The  fresh 
water  received  by  the  lake  is  great  in  quantity,  from  the  manv 
fresh-water  streams  flowing  into  it,  but  they  seem  to  have  no  per- 
ceptible effect.  We  could  find  in  it  no  fish,  or  animal  life  of  any 
kind,  the  larvae  which  were  accumulated  in  beds  on  the  shore  being 
found  to  belong  to  winged  insects.  On  the  contrary,  the  upper  lake— 
the  Timpanogos — which  discharges  into  this  by  a  stream  about 
thirty-five  miles  long,  is  fresh  water,  and  affords  large  trout  and 
other  fish  in  great  numbers.  These  constitute  the  food  of  the  Indians 
during  the  fishing  season. 

The  mineral  or  rock  salt  is  found  in  beds  of  great  thickness  at 
the  heads  of  a  stream  in  the  mountains  to  the  eastward  behind  the 
lakes.  These  strata  probably  underlie  the  bed  of  the  Great  Lake,  and 
constitute  the  deposit  from  which  it  obtains  its  salt.  It  was  found 
by  us  in  the  place  marked  by  Humboldt  on  his  map  of  New  Spain 
as  derived  from  the  journal  of  the  missionary  Father  Escalante,  who 
towards  the  close  of  the  last  century  attempted  to  penetrate  the  un- 
known country  from  Santa  Fe  of  New  Mexico  to  Monterey  of 


California.^  But  he  does  not  seem  to  have  got  further  in  his  adven- 
turous journey — and  this  at  that  time  was  far — than  the  south  end 
of  the  Timpanogos.  Southeast  of  this  lake  is  the  chain  of  the  Wah- 
satch  Mountains,  which  make  in  that  part  the  rim  of  the  Great 
Basin.  In  this  mountain,  at  the  place  where  Humboldt  has  written 
"Mo72tagnes  de  sel  Gemme"  (Rock  Salt  Mountain),  the  strata  of 
salt  are  found  in  thick  beds  of  red  clay,  at  the  heads  of  a  small 
stream  tributary  to  the  Utah  or  Timpanogos  Lake  on  its  southeast- 
erly side. 

There  is  at  the  southern  end  of  the  lake  a  large  peninsular  island, 
which  the  Indians  informed  me  could  at  this  low  stage  of  the  water 
be  reached  on  horseback.  Accordingly  on  the  18th  I  took  with  me 
Carson  and  a  few  men  and  rode  from  our  encampment  near  the 
southeastern  shore  across  the  shallows  to  the  island — almost  penin- 
sular at  this  low  stage  of  the  waters — on  the  way  the  water  nowhere 
reaching  above  the  saddle-girths.  The  floor  of  the  lake  was  a  sheet 
of  salt  resembling  softening  ice,  into  which  the  horses'  feet  sunk  to 
the  fetlocks.  On  the  island  we  found  grass  and  water  and  several 
bands  of  antelope.  Some  of  these  were  killed,  and,  in  memory  of 
the  grateful  supply  of  food  they  furnished,  I  gave  their  name  to 
the  island.  An  observation  of  the  meridian  altitude  of  the  sun,  taken 
on  the  summit  of  the  peak  of  the  island,  gave  for  its  latitude  40°  58' 

Returning  to  the  shore  we  found  at  the  camp  an  old  Utah  Indian. 
Seeing  what  game  we  had  brought  in  he  promptly  informed  us  that 
the  antelope  which  we  had  been  killing  were  his — that  all  the 
antelope  on  that  island  belonged  to  him — that  they  were  all  he  had 
to  live  upon,  and  that  we  must  pay  him  for  the  meat  which  we  had 
brought  away.  He  was  very  serious  with  us  and  gravely  reproached 
me  for  the  wrong  which  we  had  done  him.  Pleased  with  his  readi- 
ness, I  had  a  bale  unpacked  and  gave  him  a  present — some  red 
cloth,  a  knife,  and  tobacco,  with  which  he  declared  himself  abun- 
dantly satisfied  for  this  trespass  on  his  game  preserve.  With  each 
article  laid  down,  his  nods  and  gutturals  expressed  the  satisfaction 
he  felt  at  the  success  of  his  imaginary  claim.  We  could  see,  as  far  as 
an  Indian's  face  lets  expression  be  seen,  that  he  was  thinking,  "I 
went  to  the  White  Chief  who  killed  my  antelope,  and  made  him 
pay  for  it."  There  is  nothing  new  under  the  sun. 

The  climate  of  this  lake  country  does  not  present  the  rigorous 


winter  due  to  its  elevation  and  mountainous  structure.  Observations 
made  during  our  stay  here  show  that  around  the  southern  shore  of 
the  lake,  latitude  40°  30'  to  41°,  for  two  weeks  in  the  month  of 
October,  from  the  13th  to  the  27th,  the  mean  temperature  was  40° 
at  sunrise,  70°  at  noon,  and  54°  at  sunset;  ranging  at  sunrise  from 
28°  to  57° ;  at  noon,  from  62°  to  76°  ;  at  four  in  the  afternoon,  from 
58°  to  69°  ;  and  at  sunset,  from  47°  to  57°. 

Until  the  middle  of  the  month  the  weather  remained  fair  and 
very  pleasant.  On  the  15th  it  began  to  rain  in  occasional  showers 
which  whitened  with  snow  the  tops  of  the  mountains  on  the  south- 
east side  of  the  lake  valley.  Flowers  were  in  bloom  during  all  the 
month.  About  the  18th,  when  we  visited  the  large  island  in  the  south 
of  the  lake,  helianthus  [sunflower],  several  species  of  aster,  erodium 
cicutarium  [filaree],  and  several  other  plants  were  in  fresh  and  full 
bloom;  the  grass  of  the  second  growth  was  coming  up  finely,  and 
vegetation  generally  betokened  the  lengthened  summer  of  the  cli- 

The  16th,  17th,  and  18th  were  stormy  with  rain;  heavy  at  night; 
the  peaks  of  the  Bear  River  range  and  tops  of  mountains  covered 
with  snow.  On  the  18th  the  sky  cleared  with  weather  like  that  of 
late  spring,  and  continued  mild  and  clear  until  the  end  of  the 
month,  when  the  fine  weather  was  again  interrupted  by  a  day  or 
two  of  rain.  No  snow  showed  within  2000  feet  above  the  level  of 
the  valley. 

On  the  23rd  I  encamped  at  a  spring  in  a  valley  opening  on  the 
southern  shore  of  the  lake.  On  the  way,  near  the  shore,  we  came 
to  a  small  run  flowing  into  the  lake,  where  an  Indian  was  down  on 
his  hands  and  knees,  drinking  water.  Going  there  also  to  drink,  we 
were  surprised  to  find  it  salt.  The  water  was  clear,  and  its  coolness 
indicated  that  it  came  from  not  far  below  the  surface.® 

On  the  25th  we  moved  camp  to  a  valley  near  the  southwestern 
shore  about  fifty  miles  from  the  station  creek  [JCF's  Station  Creek, 
now  City  Creek],  and  in  longitude  113°  05' 09",  latitude  40°  38' 

At  this  point  we  were  to  leave  the  lake.  From  my  neighboring 
mountain  height  looking  westward,  the  view  extended  over  ranges 
which  occupied  apparently  the  whole  visible  surface — nothing  but 
mountains,  and  in  winter-time  a  forbidding  prospect.  Afterwards, 
as  we  advanced,  we  found  the  lengthening  horizon  continued  the 


same  prospect  until  it  stretched  over  the  waters  of  the  Pacific.  Look- 
ing across  over  the  crests  of  these  ridges,  which  nearly  all  run  north 
and  south,  was  like  looking  lengthwise  along  the  teeth  of  a  saw. 

Some  days  here  |  in  Skull  Valley]  were  occupied  in  deciding  upon 
the  direction  to  be  taken  for  the  onward  journey.  The  route  I  wished 
to  take  lay  over  a  flat  plain  covered  with  sage-brush.  The  country 
looked  dry  and  of  my  own  men  none  knew  anything  of  it;  neither 
Walker'*  nor  Carson.  The  Indian  declared  to  us  that  no  one  had  ever 
been  known  to  cross  the  plain,  which  was  desert;  so  far  as  any  of 
them  had  ventured  no  water  had  been  found.  It  was  probably  for 
this  reason  Father  Escalante  had  turned  back.  Men  who  have  tra- 
velled over  this  country  in  later  years  are  familiar  with  the  stony, 
black,  unfertile  mountains,  that  so  often  discouraged  and  brought 
them  disappointment.  Nearly  upon  the  line  of  our  intended  travel, 
and  at  the  farther  edge  of  the  desert,  apparently  fifty  to  sixty  miles 
away,  was  a  peak-shaped  mountain.  This  looked  to  me  to  be  fertile, 
and  it  seemed  safe  to  make  an  attempt  to  reach  it.  By  some  persua- 
sion and  the  offer  of  a  tempting  reward,  I  had  induced  one  of  the 
local  Indians  to  go  as  guide  on  the  way  to  the  mountain;  willing  to 
profit  by  any  side  knowledge  of  the  ground,  or  water-hole  that  the 
rains  might  have  left,  and  about  which  the  Indians  always  know  in 
their  hunts  through  the  sage  after  small  game. 

I  arranged  that  Carson,  [Auguste]  Archambeau[lt],  and  [Lucien 
B.]  Maxwell  should  set  out  at  night,  taking  with  them  a  man  having 
charge  of  a  pack-mule  with  water  and  provisions,  and  make  for  the 
mountain.  I  to  follow  with  the  party  the  next  day  and  make  one 
camp  out  into  the  desert.*^  They  to  make  a  signal  by  smoke  in  case 
water  should  be  found. 

The  next  afternoon,  when  the  sun  was  yet  two  hours  high,  with 
the  animals  rested  and  well  watered,  I  started  out  on  the  plain.  As 
we  advanced  this  was  found  destitute  of  any  vegetation  except  sage- 
bushes,  and  absolutelv  bare  and  smooth  as  if  water  had  been  stand- 
ing  upon  it.  The  animals  being  fresh  I  stretched  far  out  into  the 
plain.  Travelling  along  in  the  night,  after  a  few  hours'  march,  my 
Indian  lost  his  courage  and  grew  so  much  alarmed  that  his  knees 
really  gave  way  under  him  and  he  wabbled  about  like  a  drunken 
man.  He  was  not  a  true  Utah,  but  rather  of  the  Pi-utes,  a  Digger  of 
the  upper  class,  and  he  was  becoming  demoralized  at  being  taken 
so  far  from  his  gite.  Seeing  that  he  could  be  of  no  possible  use  I  gave 
him  his  promised  reward  and  let  him  go.  He  was  so  happy  in  his 


release  that  he  bounded  off  like  a  hare  through  the  sage-brush, 
fearful  that  I  might  still  keep  him. 

Sometime  before  morning  I  made  camp  in  the  sage-brush,  light- 
ing fires  to  signal  Carson's  party.^"  Before  daybreak  Archambeau 
rode  in;  the  jingling  of  his  spurs  a  welcome  sound  indicating  as  it 
did  that  he  brought  good  tidings.  They  had  found  at  the  peak  water 
and  grass,  and  wood  abundant.  The  gearing  up  was  quickly  done 
and  in  the  afternoon  we  reached  the  foot  of  the  mountain,  where  a 
cheerful  little  stream  broke  out  and  lost  itself  in  the  valley.  The 
animals  were  quickly  turned  loose,  there  being  no  risk  of  their 
straying  from  the  grass  and  water.  To  the  friendly  mountain  I  gave 
the  name  of  Pilot  Peak.  From  my  observation  this  oasis  is  in  the 
latitude  41°  00' 28"  longitude  114°ir09".  Some  time  afterward, 
when  our  crossing  of  the  desert  became  known,  an  emigrant  caravan 
was  taken  by  this  route,  which  then  became  known  as  The  Hastings 

We  gave  the  animals  a  day's  rest  here.  The  crossing  of  the  desert 
had  been  a  little  strain  upon  them;  many  of  them  being  grain-fed 
horses,  unused  to  travelling  on  grass.  These  cannot  stand  being 
over-fatigued,  soon  reaching  the  stage  which  is  called  in  the  lan- 
guage of  the  country  reste;  from  which  they  cannot  recover  without 
time,  and  must  be  left  on  the  trail.  With  a  mule  it  is  very  different. 
He  may  be  reste  at  night,  but  give  him  plenty  of  good  grass  and 
water  and  he  is  ready  for  service  in  the  morning.^^ 

On  the  1st  of  November  we  resumed  our  journey.  The  ridges 
which  occupied  the  basin  and  which  lay  across  our  route  are  short, 
being  the  links  which  form  the  ranges;  and  between  their  overlap- 
ping points  were  easy  passes  by  which  the  valleys  connect.  This  is 
their  regular  structure. 

Through  these  passes  we  wound  our  way  and  in  the  evening 
encamped  at  a  spring  in  the  head  of  a  ravine  which  my  observations 
put  in  longitude  114°  26' 22",  latitude  40°43'29'V'  and  the  next 
day  I  made  camp  at  a  spring  to  which  I  gave  the  name  of  Whitton, 
one  of  my  men  who  discovered  it.^"* 

In  advancing,  the  country  was  always  carefully  examined,  so  far 
as  the  eye  could  form  any  judgment  upon  it;  and  from  the  early 
morning  start  the  men  were  spread  over  it  to  search  for  a  camping- 
place  which  with  water  should  give  the  best  grass. 

The  winter  was  now  approaching  and  I  had  good  reason  to  know 
what  the  snow  would  be  in  the  Great  Sierra.  It  was  imprudent  to 


linger  long  in  the  examination  of  the  Great  Basin.  In  order  therefore 
to  use  to  the  best  advantage  the  interval  of  good  w^eather  I  decided 
to  divide  my  party  and  run  two  separate  lines  across  the  Basin. 

On  the  evening  of  the  8th  I  encamped  on  a  small  stream  which  I 
called  Crane's  Branch  after  one  of  my  Delaware  hunters.  Crane  was 
a  good  judge  of  country  with  a  quick  eye  exercised  in  hunting.  He 
was  one  of  the  men  I  liked  to  have  near  me.  He  was  usually  serious 
and  dignified  even  for  an  Indian,  who  are  naturally  grave  men.  The 
objects  which  furnish  ideas  to  the  mind  of  an  Indian  are  very  few 
and  mostly  what  he  sees  within  a  limited  range.  Within  this,  the 
game  and  other  natural  objects  which  come  before  his  eyes;  and 
outside  of  it,  the  enemies  whom  he  goes  to  fight  and  scalp,  if  he 
can.  These  make  his  two  sets  of  ideas.  Nearer  to  the  whites,  other 
subjects  force  their  way  in  confused  shape  through  the  barriers  of  an 
unknown  language,  but  these  are  quite  outside  of  the  usual  Indian 
understanding.  The  subjects  belonging  to  their  manner  of  life  they 
hesitate  to  talk  about  with  the  whites;  this  and  the  difference  of 
language  make  them  reserved  to  us.  With  me  the  Delawares  were 
now  making  the  grand  tour. 

Crane's  Branch  led  into  a  larger  stream  that  was  one  of  two  forks 
forming  a  river  to  which  I  gave  the  name  of  Humboldt.^^  I  am 
given  by  himself  the  honor  of  being  the  first  to  place  his  great  name 
on  the  map  of  the  continent. 

Both  the  river  and  mountain  to  which  I  gave  his  name  are  con- 
spicuous objects;  the  river  stretching  across  the  Basin  to  the  foot  of 
the  Sierra  Nevada,  and  the  mountain  standing  out  in  greater  bulk 
and  length  than  its  neighbors,  and  being  one  of  those  which  I  have 
named  fertile  mountains,  having  on  it  abundant  water  and  grass, 
and  woods. 

Years  after  in  travelling  through  that  country  I  was  glad  to  find 
that  river  and  mountain  held  his  name,  not  only  on  the  maps,  but 
in  usage  by  the  people. 

I  now  divided  the  party,  giving  to  Mr.  Kern  the  charge  of  the 
main  body  with  instructions  to  follow  down  and  survey  the  Hum- 
boldt River  and  its  valley  to  their  termination  in  what  was  called 
"the  Sink."^^  This  is  a  broad  level  bottom  of  fertile  land;  probably 
once  the  bed  of  the  lake  when  over  all  this  region,  at  a  time  not 
very  remote,  the  waters  were  higher.  When  I  passed  there  two  years 
later  it  was  covered  with  grass  and  several  varieties  of  clover.  Thence 
to  continue  on  along  the  eastern  foot  of  the  Sierra  to  a  lake  to  which 


I  have  given  the  name  of  Walker,  who  was  to  be  his  guide  on  this 
survey.  I  had  engaged  Mr.  Walker  for  guide  in  this  part  of  the 
region  to  be  explored,  with  which,  and  the  southern  part  of  the 
"California  Mountain"  he  was  well  acquainted.  The  place  of  meet- 
ing for  the  two  parties  was  to  be  the  lake  [i.e.,  Walker  Lake]. 

This  party  would  have  a  secure  line  of  travel  in  following  the 
river,  which  would  furnish  grass  and  water  for  the  entire  journey 
and  so  keep  the  greater  number  of  the  animals  in  as  good  condition 
as  the  season  admitted. 

To  accompany  myself  I  selected  ten  men,  among  whom  were 
some  of  the  Delawares.^'  I  took  leave  of  the  main  party  and  set  out 
on  a  line  westward  directly  across  the  Basin,  the  look  of  the  country 
inducing  me  to  turn  somewhat  to  the  south. 

We  lost  no  time  in  pressing  forward;  but  the  tortuous  course 
rendered  unavoidable  by  the  necessity  of  using  just  such  passes  as 
the  mountains  gave,  and  in  searching  for  grass  and  water,  greatly 
lengthened  our  road.  Still  it  gave  me  knowledge  of  the  country.  The 
early  morning  began  the  day's  work  by  the  usual  careful  study  of 
the  ground  ahead  for  indications  to  the  best  line  of  travel,  and  so 
soon  as  they  were  ready  the  hunters  started  out  to  the  right  and  left, 
scouring  the  country  as  we  advanced.  When  anything  worthy  of 
note  was  discovered  a  shot  was  fired,  or  the  horseman  would  make 
a  few  short  turns  backward  and  forward  as  a  signal  that  something 
requiring  attention  had  been  found. 

We  succeeded  in  finding  always  good  camping-grounds,  usually 
availing  ourselves  of  the  Indian  trails  which  skirted  the  foot  of  the 
ridges.  When  well  marked  showing  use,  these  never  failed  to  lead 
to  water  and  the  larger  the  trail  the  more  abundant  the  water.  This 
we  always  found  at  the  edge  of  the  mountains,  generally  in  some 
ravine,  and  quickly  sinking  into  the  ground;  never  reaching  the 
valley  except  in  seasons  of  rain.  Doubtless  artesian  wells  would  find 
it  and  make  fertile  these  valleys,  which  now  are  dry  and  barren. 

Travelling  along  the  foot  of  a  mountain  on  one  of  these  trails  we 
discovered  a  light  smoke  rising  from  a  ravine,  and  riding  quietly 
up,  found  a  single  Indian  standing  before  a  litde  sage-brush  fire 
over  which  was  hanging  a  small  earthen  pot,  filled  with  sage-brush 
squirrels.  Another  bunch  of  squirrels  lay  near  it  and  close  by  were 
his  bow  and  arrows.  He  was  deep  in  a  brown  study,  thinking  per- 
haps of  some  game-trail  which  he  had  seen  and  intended  to  follow 
that  afternoon,  and  did  not  see  or  hear  us  until  we  were  direcdy 


upon  him,  his  absorbed  thoughts  and  the  sides  of  the  ravine  cutting 
off  sounds.  Escape  for  him  was  not  possible  and  he  tried  to  seem 
pleased,  but  his  convulsive  start  and  wild  look  around  showed  that 
he  thought  his  end  had  come.  And  so  it  would — abruptly — had  the 
Delawares  been  alone.  With  a  deprecating  smile  he  offered  part  of 
his  pot-aU'jeu  and  his  bunch  of  squirrels.  I  reassured  him  with  a 
friendly  shake  of  the  hand  and  a  trifling  gift.  He  was  a  good-looking 
young  man,  well  made,  as  these  Indians  usually  are,  and  naked  as  a 

The  Delawares  lingered  as  we  turned  away,  but  I  would  not  let 
them  remain.  Anyhow  they  regarded  our  journey  as  a  kind  of  war- 
path and  no  matter  what  kind  of  path  he  is  upon  a  Delaware  is 
always  ready  to  take  a  scalp  when  he  is  in  a  country  where  there 
are  strange  Indians.  We  had  gone  but  a  short  distance  when  I  found 
they  had  brought  away  his  bow  and  arrows,  but  I  had  them  taken 
immediately  back.  These  were  well  made;  the  bow  strong,  and 
made  still  stronger  with  sinews,  and  the  arrows  were  all  headed 
with  obsidian  worked  in  the  usual  spear  shape  by  patient  labor,  and 
nearly  as  sharp  as  steel.  The  Delawares  took  them  back  willingly 
when  I  reminded  them  that  they  had  exposed  the  poor  fellow  to 
almost  certain  starvation  by  depriving  him  at  the  beginning  of 
winter  of  his  only  means  to  procure  food. 

At  one  of  our  camps  on  the  foot-slopes  of  a  ridge  we  found  again 
springs  of  boiling  water;  but  a  little  way  distant  from  the  spring  of 
cold  water  which  supplied  us. 

A  day  or  two  after  we  saw  mountain  sheep  for  the  first  time  in 
crossing  the  Basin.  None  were  killed,  but  that  afternoon  Carson 
killed  an  antelope.  That  day  we  travelled  late,  making  for  the  point 
of  a  wooded  mountain  where  we  had  expected  to  find  water,  but 
on  reaching  it  found  only  the  dry  bed  of  a  creek  where  there  was 
sometimes  running  water.  It  was  too  late  to  go  farther  and  I  turned 
up  the  creek  bed,  taking  the  chance  to  find  it  above  as  the  mountain 
looked  promising.  Well  up,  towards  the  top  of  the  mountain,  nearly 
two  thousand  feet  above  the  plain,  we  came  upon  a  spring  where 
the  little  basin  afforded  enough  for  careful  use.  A  bench  of  the 
mountain  near  by  made  a  good  camping-ground,  for  the  November 
nights  were  cool  and  newlv-fallen  snow  already  marked  out  the 
higher  ridges  of  the  mountains.  With  grass  abundant,  and  pine 
wood  and  cedars  to  keep  up  the  night  fires,  we  were  well  provided 


Sagundai  who  had  first  found  the  spring  saw  fresh  tracks  made 
in  the  sand  by  a  woman's  naked  foot,  and  the  spring  had  been  re- 
cently cleaned  out.  But  he  saw  no  other  indications  of  human  life. 
We  had  made  our  supper  on  the  antelope  and  were  lying  around 
the  fije,  and  the  men  taking  their  great  comfort  in  smoking.  A  good 
supper  and  a  pipe  make  for  them  a  comfortable  ending  no  matter 
how  hard  the  day  has  been,  Carson  who  was  lying  on  his  back  with 
his  pipe  in  his  mouth,  his  hands  under  his  head  and  his  feet  to  the 
fire,  suddenly  exclaimed,  half  rising  and  pointing  to  the  other  side 
of  the  fire,  "Good  God!  look  there!"  In  the  blaze  of  the  fire,  peering 
over  her  skinny,  crooked  hands,  which  shaded  her  eyes  from  the 
glare,  was  standing  an  old  woman  apparently  eighty  years  of  age, 
nearly  naked,  her  grizzly  hair  hanging  down  over  her  face  and 
shoulders.  She  had  thought  it  a  camp  of  her  people  and  had  already 
begun  to  talk  and  gesticulate,  when  her  open  mouth  was  paralyzed 
with  fright,  as  she  saw  the  faces  of  the  whites.  She  turned  to  escape, 
but  the  men  had  gathered  about  her  and  brought  her  around  to  the 
fire.  Hunger  and  cold  soon  dispelled  fear  and  she  made  us  under- 
stand that  she  had  been  left  by  her  people  at  the  spring  to  die,  be- 
cause she  was  very  old  and  could  gather  no  more  seeds  and  was  no 
longer  good  for  anything.  She  told  us  she  had  nothing  to  eat  and 
was  very  hungry.  We  gave  her  immediately  about  a  quarter  of  the 
antelope,  thinking  she  would  roast  it  by  our  fire,  but  no  sooner 
did  she  get  it  in  her  hand  than  she  darted  ofT  into  the  darkness. 
Some  one  ran  after  her  with  a  brand  of  fire,  but  calling  after  her 
brought  no  answer.  In  the  morning,  her  fresh  tracks  at  the  spring 
showed  that  she  had  been  there  for  water  during  the  night.  Starva- 
tion had  driven  her  to  us,  but  her  natural  fear  drove  her  away  as 
quickly,  so  soon  as  she  had  secured  something  to  eat.  Before  we 
started  we  left  for  her  at  the  spring  a  little  supply  from  what  food 
we  had.  This,  with  what  she  could  gather  from  the  nut-pine  trees 
on  the  mountain,  together  with  our  fire  which  she  could  easily  keep 
up,  would  probably  prolong  her  life  even  after  the  snows  came.  The 
nut-pines  and  cedars  extend  their  branches  out  to  the  ground  and 
in  one  of  their  thickets,  as  I  have  often  proved,  these  make  a  com- 
fortable shelter  against  the  most  violent  snow-storms. 

This  was  Sagundai's  Spring.  The  names  of  my  camps  here  along 
become  the  record  of  the  rivalry  of  the  men  in  finding  good  camps. 
It  became  the  recurring  interest  of  each  day  to  prove  their  judgment 
of  country  as  well  as  their  skill  as  hunters. 


The  region  here  along  had  a  special  interest  for  me  and  our  prog- 
ress was  slow  for  the  two  following  days.  We  had  now  reached  a 
low  valley  line  that  extends  along  the  eastern  foot  of  the  ridges 
which  constitute  the  Sierra  Nevada.  Into  this  low  ground  the  rivers 
from  the  Sierra  as  well  as  from  the  Basin  gather  into  a  series  of 
lakes  extending  south  towards  the  head  of  the  Gulf  of  California. 
I  had  a  reason  for  carefully  examining  this  part  of  the  Basin,  but 
the  time  needed  for  it  would  interfere  with  other  objects  and  the 
winter  was  at  hand. 

The  place  appointed  for  meeting  the  main  party  was  on  the  east- 
ward shore  of  Walker's  Lake  near  the  point  where  the  river  to 
which  I  had  given  the  same  name  empties  into  it.  Making  our  way 
along  the  foot  of  the  mountain  towards  our  rendezvous  we  had 
reached  one  of  the  lakes  where  at  this  season  the  scattered  Indians 
of  the  neighborhood  were  gathering  to  fish.  Turning  a  point  on  the 
lake  shore  the  party  of  Indians  some  twelve  or  fourteen  in  number 
came  abrupdy  into  view.  They  were  advancing  along  in  Indian  file, 
one  following  the  other,  their  heads  bent  forward  and  eyes  fixed 
on  the  ground.  As  our  party  met  them  the  Indians  did  not  turn 
their  heads  nor  raise  their  eyes  from  the  ground.  Their  conduct 
indicated  unfriendliness,  but,  habituated  to  the  uncertainties  of 
savage  life,  we  too  fell  readily  into  their  humor,  and  passed  on  our 
way  without  word  or  halt.  Even  to  us  it  was  a  strange  meeting. 

It  was  the  solitary  occasion  where  I  met  with  such  an  instance  of 
sullen  and  defiant  hostility  among  Indians  and  where  they  neither 
sought  nor  avoided  conflict.  I  judged  that  they  either  regarded  us 
as  intruders,  or  that  they  had  received  some  recent  injury  from  the 
whites  who  were  now  beginning  to  enter  California,  and  which 
they  wished  but  feared  to  avenge. 

In  this  region  the  condition  of  the  Indian  is  nearly  akin  to  that 
of  the  lower  animals.  Here  they  are  really  wild  men.  In  this  wild 
state  the  Indian  lives  to  get  food.  This  is  his  business.  The  super- 
fluous part  of  his  life,  that  portion  which  can  be  otherwise  employed, 
is  devoted  to  some  kind  of  warfare.  From  this  lowest  condition, 
where  he  is  found  as  the  simplest  element  of  existence,  up  to  the 
highest  in  which  he  is  found  on  this  continent,  it  is  the  same  thing. 
In  the  Great  Basin,  where  nearly  naked  he  travelled  on  foot  and 
lived  in  the  sage-brush,  I  found  him  in  the  most  elementary  form; 
the  men  living  alone;  the  women  living  alone,  but  all  after  food. 
Sometimes  one  man  cooking  by  his  solitary  fire  in  the  sage-brush 


which  was  his  home,  his  bow  and  arrows  and  bunch  of  squirrels  by 
his  side;  sometimes  on  the  shore  of  a  lake  or  river  where  food  was 
more  abundant  a  little  band  of  men  might  be  found  occupied  in 
fishing;  miles  away  a  few  women  would  be  met  gathering  seeds 
and  insects,  or  huddled  up  in  a  shelter  of  sage-brush  to  keep  off  the 
snow.  And  the  same  on  the  mountains  or  prairies  where  the  wild 
Indians  were  found  in  their  highest  condition,  where  they  had 
horses  and  lived  in  lodges.  The  labor  of  their  lives  was  to  get  some- 
thing to  eat.  The  occupation  of  the  women  was  in  gleaning  from 
the  earth  everything  of  vegetable  or  insect  life;  the  occupation  of 
the  men  was  to  kill  every  animal  they  could  for  food  and  every 
man  of  every  other  tribe  for  pleasure.  And,  in  every  attempt  to 
civilize,  these  are  the  two  lines  upon  which  he  is  to  be  met. 

On  the  24th  we  encamped  at  our  rendezvous  on  the  lake  where 
beds  of  rushes  made  good  pasturage  for  our  animals. ^^  Three  days 
afterward  the  main  party  arrived. ^^  They  were  all  in  good  health, 
and  had  met  with  no  serious  accident.  But  the  scarcity  of  game  had 
made  itself  felt,  and  we  were  now  all  nearly  out  of  provisions.  It 
was  now  almost  midwinter,  and  the  open  weather  could  not  be 
expected  to  last. 

In  this  journey  across  the  Basin,  between  latitudes  41°  and  38°, 
during  the  month  of  November  from  the  5th  to  the  25th,  the  mean 
temperature  was  29°  at  sunrise  and  40°  at  sunset,  ranging  at  noon 
between  41°  and  60°.  There  was  a  snow-storm  between  the  4th  and 
7th,  snow  falling  principally  at  night,  and  the  sun  occasionally 
breaking  out  in  the  day.  The  lower  hills  and  valleys  were  covered 
only  a  few  inches  deep  with  snow,  which  the  sun  carried  off  in  a 
few  hours  after  the  storm  was  over.  The  weather  continued  unin- 
terruptedly clear  and  beautiful  until  the  close  of  the  month.  But 
though  the  skies  were  clear  it  was  colder  now  that  we  had  come 
within  the  influence  of  the  main  Sierra. 

I  was  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  passage  which  I  had  forced 
across  it  a  year  before,  and  I  had  it  on  my  mind.  Heavy  snows  might 
be  daily  expected  to  block  up  the  passes,  and  I  considered  that  in 
this  event  it  would  be  hopeless  to  attempt  a  crossing  with  the  ma- 
terial of  the  whole  party. 

I  therefore  decided  again  to  divide  it,  sending  the  main  body 
under  Kern  to  continue  southward  along  the  lake  line  and  pass 
around  the  Point  of  the  California  Mountain  into  the  head  of  the 
San  Joaquin  valley.  There,  as  already  described,  the  great  Sierra 


comes  down  nearly  to  the  plain,  making  a  Point,  as  in  the  smaller 
links,  and  making  open  and  easy  passes  where  there  is  never  or 
rarely  snow.  As  before,  Walker,  who  was  familiar  with  the  southern 
part  of  Upper  California,  was  made  the  guide  of  the  party;  and, 
after  considering  the  advantages  of  different  places,  it  was  agreed 
that  the  place  of  meeting  for  the  two  parties  should  be  at  a  little 
lake  in  the  valley  of  a  river  called  the  Lake  Fork  of  the  Tulare  Lake 
[Kings  River]. 

With  a  selected  party  of  fifteen,  among  whom  were  some  of  my 
best  men,  including  several  Delawares,  I  was  to  attempt  the  crossing 
of  the  mountain  in  order  to  get  through  to  Sutter's  Fort  before  the 
snow  began  to  fall.  At  the  fort  I  could  obtain  the  necessary  supplies 
for  the  relief  of  the  main  party. 

Leaving  them  in  good  order,  and  cheerful  at  the  prospect  of  escap- 
ing from  the  winter  into  the  beautiful  "California  Valley,"  as  it  was 
then  called,  we  separated,  and  I  took  up  my  route  for  the  river 
which  flows  into  Pyramid  Lake,  and  which  on  my  last  journey  I 
had  named  Salmon-Trout  [Truckee]  River. 

I  now  entered  a  region  which  hardship  had  made  familiar  to  me, 
and  I  was  not  compelled  to  feel  my  way,  but  used  every  hour  of  the 
day  to  press  forward  towards  the  Pass  at  the  head  of  this  river. 

On  the  1st  of  December  I  struck  it  above  the  lower  canon,  and  on 
the  evening  of  the  4th  camped  at  its  head  on  the  east  side  of  the  pass 
in  the  Sierra  Nevada.  Our  effort  had  been  to  reach  the  pass  before 
a  heavy  fall  of  snow,  and  we  had  succeeded.  All  night  we  watched 
the  sky,  ready  to  attempt  the  passage  with  the  first  indication  of 
falling  snow;  but  the  sky  continued  clear.  On  our  way  up,  the  fine 
weather  which  we  had  left  at  the  foot  of  the  mountain  continued  to 
favor  us,  and  when  we  reached  the  pass  the  only  snow  showing  was 
on  the  peaks  of  the  mountains."" 

At  three  in  the  afternoon  the  temperature  was  46° ;  at  sunset,  34°. 
The  observations  of  the  night  gave  for  the  longitude  of  the  pass, 
120°  15' 20'',  and  for  the  latitude,  39°  17'  12".  Early  the  next  morn- 
ing we  climbed  the  rocky  ridge  which  faces  the  eastern  side,  and  at 
sunrise  were  on  the  crest  of  the  divide,  7200  [7,135]  feet  above  the 
sea;  the  sky  perfectly  clear,  and  the  temperature  22°.  There  was  no 
snow  in  the  pass,  but  already  it  showed  apparently  deep  on  higher 
ridges  and  mountain-tops.  The  emigrant  road  now  passed  here  fol- 
lowing down  a  fork  of  Bear  River,  which  leads  from  the  pass  into 
the  Sacramento  valley.  Finding  this  a  rugged  way,  I  turned  to  the 


south  and  encamped  in  a  mountain-meadow  where  the  grass  was 
fresh  and  green.  We  had  made  good  our  passage  of  the  mountain 
and  entered  now  among  the  grand  vegetation  of  the  CaHfornia 
valley.  Even  if  the  snow  should  now  begin  to  fall,  we  could  out- 
strip it  into  the  valley,  where  the  winter  king  already  shrunk  from 
the  warm  breath  of  spring. 

The  route  the  next  day  led  over  good  travelling  ground ;  gaining 
a  broad  leading  ridge  we  travelled  along  through  the  silence  of  a 
noble  pine  forest  where  many  of  the  trees  were  of  great  height  and 
uncommon  size.  The  tall  red  columns  standing  closely  on  the  clear 
ground,  the  filtered,  flickering  sunshine  from  their  summits  far  over- 
head, gave  the  dim  religious  light  of  cathedral  aisles,  opening  out 
on  every  side,  one  after  the  other,  as  we  advanced.  Later,  in  early 
spring,  these  forest  grounds  are  covered  with  a  blue  carpet  of  forget- 

The  pines  of  the  European  forests  would  hide  their  diminished 
heads  amidst  these  great  columns  of  the  Sierra.  A  species  of  cedar 
{Thuya  gigantea)  occurred  often  of  extraordinary  bulk  and  height. 
Pin  us  Lambertiani  [sugar  pine]  was  one  of  the  most  frequent  trees, 
distinguished  among  cone-bearing  tribes  by  the  length  of  its  cones, 
which  are  sometimes  sixteen  or  eighteen  inches  long.  The  Indians 
eat  the  inner  part  of  the  burr,  and  I  noticed  large  heaps  of  them 
where  they  had  been  collected. 

Leaving  the  higher  ridges  we  gained  the  smoother  spurs  and  de- 
scended about  4000  feet,  the  face  of  the  country  rapidly  changing 
as  we  went  down.  The  country  became  low  and  rolling;  pines  began 
to  disappear,  and  varieties  of  oak,  principally  an  evergreen  resem- 
bling live  oak,  became  the  predominating  forest  growth.  The  oaks 
bear  great  quantities  of  acorns,  which  are  the  principal  food  of  all 
the  wild  Indians;  it  is  their  bread-fruit  tree.  At  a  village  of  a  few 
huts  which  we  came  upon  there  was  a  large  supply  of  these  acorns; 
eight  or  ten  cribs  of  wicker-work  containing  about  twenty  bushels 
each.  The  sweetest  and  best  acorns,  somewhat  resembling  Italian 
chestnuts  in  taste,  are  obtained  from  a  large  tree  belonging  to  the 
division  of  white  oaks,  distinguished  by  the  length  of  its  acorn, 
which  is  commonly  an  inch  and  a  half  and  sometimes  two  inches. 
This  long  acorn  characterizes  the  tree,  which  is  a  new  species  and  is 
accordingly  specified  by  Dr.  Torrey  as  Quercus  lofigiglanda  (Torr. 
and  Frem.) — long-acorn  oak.  This  tree  is  very  abundant  and  gener- 
ally forms  the  groves  on  the  bottom-lands  of  the  streams;  standing 


apart  with  a  green  undergrowth  of  grass  which  gives  the  appearance 
of  cultivated  parks.  It  is  a  noble  forest  tree,  sixty  to  eighty  feet  high 
with  a  summit  of  wide-spreading  branches,  and  frequently  attains 
a  diameter  of  six  feet;  the  largest  that  we  measured  reached  eleven 
feet.  The  evergreen  oaks  generally  have  a  low  growth  with  long 
branches  and  spreading  tops. 

At  our  encampment  on  the  evening  of  the  8th,  on  a  stream  which 
I  named  Hamilton's  Creek,"^  we  had  come  down  to  an  elevation  of 
500  feet  above  the  sea.  The  temperature  at  sunset  was  48°,  the  sky 
clear,  the  weather  calm  and  delightful,  and  the  vegetation  that  of 
early  spring.  We  were  still  upon  the  foot-hills  of  the  mountains, 
where  the  soil  is  sheltered  by  woods  and  where  rain  falls  much  more 
frequently  than  in  the  open  Sacramento  Valley  near  the  edge  of 
which  we  then  were.  I  have  been  in  copious  continuous  rains  of 
eighteen  or  twenty  hours'  duration,  in  the  oak  region  of  the  moun- 
tain, when  none  fell  in  the  valley  below.  Innumerable  small  streams 
have  their  rise  through  these  foot-hills,  which  often  fail  to  reach 
the  river  of  the  valley,  but  are  absorbed  in  its  light  soil;  the  large 
streams  coming  from  the  upper  part  of  the  mountain  make  valleys 
of  their  own  of  fertile  soil,  covered  with  luxuriant  grass  and  inter- 
spersed with  groves. 

The  oak  belt  of  the  mountain  is  the  favorite  range  of  the  Indians. 
I  found  many  small  villages  scattered  through  it.  They  select  places 
near  the  streams  where  there  are  large  boulders  of  granite  rock, 
that  show  everywhere  holes  which  they  had  used  for  mortars  in 
which  to  pound  the  acorns.  These  are  always  pretty  spots.  The 
clean,  smooth  granite  rocks  standing  out  from  the  green  of  the 
fresh  grass  over  which  the  great  oaks  throw  their  shade,  and  the 
clear  running  water  are  pleasant  to  eye  and  ear. 

After  the  rough  passage  and  scanty  food  of  the  Basin  these  lovely 
spots  with  the  delightful  spring  weather,  fresh  grass  and  flowers, 
and  running  water,  together  with  the  abundant  game,  tempted  us 
to  make  early  camps;  so  that  we  were  about  four  days  in  coming 
down  the  valley. 

Travelling  in  this  way  slowly  along,  taking  the  usual  astronomical 
observations  and  notes  of  the  country,  we  reached  on  the  9th  of 
December  the  |Eliab]  Grimes  Rancho  [del  Paso]  on  what  was  then 
still  known  as  Rio  de  los  Amencanos— the  American  Fork,  near 
Sutter's  Fort. 

Captain   Sutter  received  me  with  the  same  friendly  hospitality 


which  had  been  so  deHghtful  to  us  the  year  before."^  I  found  that 
our  previous  visit  had  created  some  excitement  among  the  Mexican 
authorities.  But  to  their  inquiries  he  had  explained  that  I  had  been 
engaged  in  a  geographical  survey  of  the  interior  and  had  been 
driven  to  force  my  way  through  the  snow  of  the  mountains  simply 
to  obtain  a  refuge  and  food  where  I  knew  it  could  be  had  at  his 
place,  which  was  by  common  report  known  to  me. 

Being  ourselves  already  recruited  by  the  easy  descent  into  the 
valley  I  did  not  need  to  delay  long  here.  A  few  days  sufficed  to  pur- 
chase some  animals  and  a  small  drove  of  cattle,  with  other  needed 

Leaving  the  upper  settlements  of  New  Helvetia,  as  the  Sutter  set- 
tlement was  called,  on  the  14th  of  December,  I  started  to  find  my 
party  which  I  had  left  in  charge  of  Talbot  when  we  had  separated  in 
the  Basin  on  Walker  Lake.  Passing  through  the  groves  of  oak  which 
border  the  American  Fork,  we  directed  our  route  in  a  southeasterly 
course  towards  the  Cosumne  River. 

The  Cosumne  Indians,  who  have  left  their  name  on  this  river, 
and  which  I  had  preserved  on  my  map  of  the  country,  have  been 
driven  away  from  it  within  a  few  years  and  dispersed  among  other 
tribes ;  and  several  farms  of  some  leagues  in  extent  had  already  been 
commenced  on  the  lower  part  of  the  stream.  At  one  of  these  we 
encamped  about  eight  miles  above  the  junction  of  the  Cosumne 
with  the  Mokelumne  River,  which  a  few  miles  below  enters  a  deep 
slough  in  the  tide-water  of  the  San  Joaquin  delta. 

Our  way  now  lay  over  the  well-remembered  plains  of  the  San 
Joaquin  valley,  the  direction  of  our  route  inclining  towards  the 
mountains.  We  crossed  wooded  sloughs,  with  ponds  of  deep  water, 
which  nearer  the  foothills  are  running  streams  with  large  bottoms 
of  fertile  land ;  the  greater  part  of  our  way  being  through  evergreen, 
and  other  oaks.  The  rainy  season,  which  commonly  begins  with 
November,  had  not  yet  commenced,  and  the  streams  were  at  the 
low  stage  usual  to  the  dry  season  and  easily  forded.  The  Mokelumne 
where  we  crossed  it  is  about  sixty  yards  wide;  the  broad  alluvial 
bottoms  were  here  about  five  hundred  yards  wide.  Leaving  this 
river  on  the  morning  of  the  16th,  we  travelled  about  twenty  miles 
through  open  woods  of  white  oak,  crossing  in  the  way  several 
stream-beds,  among  them  the  Calaveras  Creek.  These  have  abundant 
water  with  good  land  nearer  the  hills;  and  the  Calaveras  makes 
some  remarkably  handsome  bottoms. 


Issuing  from  the  woods  we  rode  about  sixteen  miles  over  open 
prairie  partly  covered  with  bunch-grass,  the  timber  reappearing  on 
the  roUing  hills  of  the  river  Stanislaus  in  the  usual  belt  of  evergreen 
oaks.  The  level  valley  was  about  forty  feet  below  the  upland,  and 
the  stream  seventy  yards  broad,  with  the  usual  fertile  bottom-land 
which  was  covered  with  green  grass  among  large  oaks.  We  en- 
camped in  one  of  these  bottoms,  in  a  grove  of  the  large  white  oaks 
previously  mentioned. 

The  many  varieties  of  deciduous  and  evergreen  oaks  which  predom- 
inate throughout  the  valleys  and  lower  hills  of  the  mountains  afiford 
large  quantities  of  acorns.  Their  great  abundance  in  the  midst  of 
fine  pasture-land  must  make  them  an  important  element  in  the 
farming  economy  of  the  country. 

The  day  had  been  very  warm.  At  sunset  the  temperature  was  55° 
and  the  weather  clear  and  calm. 

At  sunrise  the  next  morning  the  thermometer  was  at  22°  with  a 
light  wind  from  the  Sierra  N.  76°  E.  and  a  clear  pure  sky,  against 
which  the  blue  line  of  the  mountains  showed  clearly  marked.  The 
way  for  about  three  miles  was  through  woods  of  evergreen  and 
other  oaks  with  some  shrubbery  intermingled.  Among  this  was  a 
lupine  of  extraordinary  size,  not  yet  in  bloom.  Emerging  from  the 
woods  we  travelled  in  a  southeasterly  direction,  over  a  prairie  of 
rolling  land,  the  group  becoming  more  broken  as  we  approached  the 
Tuolumne  River,  one  of  the  finest  tributaries  to  the  San  Joaquin. 

The  hills  were  generally  covered  with  a  species  of  geranium 
{erodium  cicutarium) ,  in  the  language  of  the  country  alfaljeria,  a 
valuable  plant  for  stock  and  considered  very  nutritious.  With  this 
was  frequently  interspersed  good  and  green  bunch-grass,  and  a  plant 
commonly  called  bur-clover.  This  plant,  which  in  some  places  is 
very  abundant,  bears  a  spirally  twisted  pod,  filled  with  seeds  that 
remain  on  the  ground  during  the  dry  season,  well  preserved.  This 
affords  good  food  for  the  cattle  until  with  the  spring  rains  new 
grass  comes  up. 

We  started  a  band  of  wild  horses  on  approaching  the  river  and 
the  Indians  ran  oflF  from  a  village  on  the  bank;  the  men  lurking 
round  to  observe  us. 

The  trail  led  sidling  down  the  steep  face  of  the  hill  to  the  river- 
bottom.  The  horse  I  was  riding,  one  of  those  gotten  at  Sutter's,  had 
been  reclaimed  from  the  wild  herds,  and  seeing  this  wild  herd 
scouring  off  he  remembered  his  own  free  days  and  in  mid-trail  set 


himself  to  bucking,  in  the  way  a  California  horse — wild  or  tame — 
knows  how  to  do  exceptionally.  A  wild  horse  broken  to  the  saddle 
never  forgets,  and  takes  advantage  of  every  chance  he  has  to  rid 
himself  of  his  rider.  If  a  girth  breaks  or  a  saddle  turns  he  knows  it. 
A  rifle  across  the  saddle  and  Indians  to  be  watched  and  a  bucking 
horse  on  a  steep  hill-side  make  a  complicated  situation,  but  we  got  to 
the  bottom  without  parting  company  and  my  horse  seemed  only 
pleased  by  the  excitement. 

I  give  place  to  a  recollection  of  another  bucking  horse  which  il- 
lustrates well  the  capacity  in  that  way  of  the  California  horse  of  the 
civilized  breed  and  the  capacity  of  the  Californian  to  sit  him.  After 
the  capitulation  of  Couenga  I  was  riding  into  Los  Angeles  at  the 
head  of  the  battalion  and  was  met  by  Don  Francisco  de  la  Guerra^"* 
and  other  officers  of  the  Californian  force,  who  brought  with  them 
for  me  two  fine  horses,  one  gray,  the  other  a  palomino  or  tan-colored 
cream;  both  uncommonly  large  for  Californian  horses  and  just  the 
size  for  a  saddle-horse.  Before  changing  my  saddle  I  took  a  look  at 
the  two,  and  not  liking  the  eyes  of  the  gray  I  had  Jacob  put  the 
saddle  on  the  palomino.  My  friend  Don  Pedro  Carillo,"^  a  Califor- 
nian, educated  at  Harvard — and  who  had  taken  sides  with  me  and 
was  one  of  my  aides — took  the  gray.  Of  course,  like  all  Californians, 
Don  Pedro  was  a  splendid  horseman.  He  sprang  lightly  into  the 
saddle,  which  was  that  of  the  country,  with  the  usual  mochila  or 
large,  stiff,  leather  covering  to  the  saddle.  But  his  right  foot  had  not 
reached  the  stirrup  when  the  gray  commenced.  He  bucked  from  the 
start,  going  around  in  a  circle  about  thirty  yards  across,  bucking 
right  along  and  with  so  much  force  that  he  jerked  Don  Pedro's 
sword  from  its  scabbard,  the  pistols  from  the  holsters  and  the 
mochilas  from  between  him  and  the  saddle.  Everybody  applauded 
his  horsemanship.  Francisco  de  la  Guerra  cried  out  "Todavia  es 
Californio!"  ("He  is  a  Californian  still.") 

Californians  generally  were  handsome,  but  even  among  them 
Don  Pedro  was  a  fine-looking  man.  He  is  yet  living  at  Los  Angeles, 
and  we  remain  friends. 

We  encamped  on  the  Tuolumne  on  bottom-land,  open-wooded 
with  large  white  oaks  of  the  new  species;  and  excellent  grass  fur- 
nished good  food  for  the  animals.  The  usual  order  of  the  camp  was 
enlivened  by  the  Indians,  who  were  soon  reconciled  to  our  presence. 
About  their  huts  were  the  usual  acorn  cribs,  containing  each  some 


twenty  or  thirty  bushels.  The  sunset  temperature  was  pleasant,  at 
54°,  and  a  clear  atmosphere.  Multitudes  of  geese  and  other  wild 
fowl  made  the  night  noisy. 

In  the  morning  the  sky  was  clear,  with  an  air  from  the  southeast 
and  a  hoar  frost  covering  the  ground  like  a  light  fall  of  snow.  At 
sunrise  the  thermometer  was  at  24°,  a  difference  from  the  preceding 
sunset  of  thirty  degrees.  Our  course  now  inclined  more  towards  the 
foot  of  the  mountain  and  led  over  a  broken  country.  In  about  seven- 
teen miles  we  reached  the  Auxumne  River — called  by  the  Mexicans 
Merced — another  large  affluent  of  the  San  Joaquin,  and  continued 
about  six  miles  up  the  stream,  intending  gradually  to  reach  the  heart 
of  the  mountains  at  the  head  of  the  Lake  Fork  of  the  Tulare. 

We  encamped  on  the  southern  side  of  the  river,  where  broken 
hills  made  a  steep  bluff,  with  a  narrow  bottom.  On  the  northern 
side  was  a  low,  undulating  wood  and  prairie  land,  over  which  a 
band  of  about  three  hundred  elk  was  slowly  coming  to  water,  feed- 
ing as  they  approached. 

The  next  day  was  December  the  19th ;  the  weather  continuing  clear 
and  pleasant,  very  unlike  the  winter  days  to  which  we  were  accus- 
tomed. We  continued  our  journey  in  a  southeasterly  direction,  over 
a  broken  and  hilly  country  without  timber,  and  showing  only  scat- 
tered clumps  of  trees  from  which  we  occasionally  started  deer. 

In  a  few  hours  we  reached  a  beautiful  country  of  undulating  up- 
land, openly  wooded  with  oaks,  principally  evergreen,  and  watered 
with  small  streams  which  together  make  the  Mariposas  River.  Con- 
tinuing along  we  came  upon  broad  and  deeply-worn  trails  which 
had  been  freshly  travelled  by  large  bands  of  horses,  apparently 
coming  from  the  San  Joaquin  valley.  But  we  had  heard  enough  to 
know  that  they  came  from  the  settlements  on  the  coast.  These  and 
indications  from  horse-bones  dragged  about  by  wild  animals,  wolves 
or  bears,  warned  us  that  we  were  approaching  villages  of  Horse- 
thief  Indians,  a  party  of  whom  had  just  returned  from  a  successful 
raid.  Immediately  upon  striking  their  trail  I  sent  forward  four  of 
my  best  men,  Dick  Owens  and  Maxwell  and  two  Delawares.  I  fol- 
lowed after  with  the  rest  of  the  party,  but  soon  the  Indian  signs 
became  so  thick,  trail  after  trail  coming  into  that  on  which  we  were 
travelling,  that  I  saw  we  were  getting  into  a  stronghold  of  the 
Horse-thieves,  and  we  rode  rapidly  forward.  After  a  few  miles  of 
sharp  riding,  a  small  stream  running  over  a  slaty  bed,  with  clumps 
of  oaks  around,  tempted  me  into  making  an  early  halt.  Good  grass 


was  abundant,  and  this  spot  not  long  since  had  been  the  camping 
ground  of  a  village,  and  was  evidently  one  of  their  favorite  places, 
as  the  ground  was  whitened  with  the  bones  of  many  horses.  We 
had  barely  thrown  off  our  saddles  and  not  yet  turned  the  horses 
loose,  when  the  intermittent  report  of  rifles,  in  the  way  one  does 
not  mistake,  and  the  barking  of  many  dogs  and  sounds  of  shouting 
faintly  reached  us,  made  us  quickly  saddle  up  again  and  ride  to  the 
sounds  at  speed. 

Four  men  were  left  to  guard  the  camp.  In  a  short  half  mile  we 
found  ourselves  suddenly  in  front  of  a  large  Indian  village  not  two 
hundred  yards  away.  More  than  a  hundred  Indians  were  advancing 
on  each  side  of  a  small  hill,  on  the  top  of  which  were  our  men 
where  a  clump  of  oaks  and  rocks  amidst  bushes  made  a  good  de- 
fence. My  men  had  been  discovered  by  the  Indians  and  suddenly 
found  themselves  in  the  midst  of  them,  but  jumped  from  their 
horses  and  took  to  the  rocks,  which  happened  to  be  a  strong  place 
to  fight  them.  The  Indians  were  shouting  at  them  in  Spanish,  and 
the  women  and  children  at  the  village  howling  at  their  best.  Our 
men  were  only  endeavoring  to  stand  them  off  until  we  should  get 
up,  as  they  knew  we  would  not  be  far  behind.  The  Indians  had 
nearly  surrounded  the  knoll  and  were  about  getting  possession  of 
the  horses  when  we  came  into  view.  Our  shout  as  we  charged  up 
the  hill  was  answered  by  the  yell  of  the  Delawares  as  they  dashed 
down  the  hill  to  recover  their  animals,  and  the  report  of  Owens' 
and  Maxwell's  rifles.  Owens  had  singled  out  the  foremost  Indian, 
who  did  not  go  any  farther  up  the  hill,  and  the  others  drew  a  little 
back  towards  the  village.  Anxious  for  the  safety  of  the  men  left 
behind,  I  profited  by  the  surprise  to  withdraw  towards  our  camp; 
checking  the  Indians  by  an  occasional  rifle  shot,  with  the  range  of 
which  they  seemed  to  think  they  were  acquainted.  They  followed  us 
to  the  camp  and  scattered  around  among  the  rocks  and  trees,  whence 
they  harangued  us,  bestowing  on  us  liberally  all  the  epithets  they 
could  use,  telling  us  what  they  would  do  with  us.  Many  of  them 
had  been  Mission  Indians  and  spoke  Spanish  well,  "Wait,"  they 
said.  "Esperate  Carrajos — wait  until  morning.  There  are  two  big 
villages  up  in  the  mountains  close  by;  we  have  sent  for  the  Chief; 
he'll  be  down  before  morning  with  all  the  people  and  you  will  all 
die.  None  of  you  shall  go  back;  we  will  have  all  your  horses." 

I  divided  the  camp  into  two  watches,  putting  myself  into  the  last 
one.  As  soon  as  it  was  fully  dark  each  man  of  the  guard  crept  to 


his  post.  We  heard  the  women  and  children  retreating  towards  the 
mountains.  Before  midnight  the  Indians  had  generally  withdrawn, 
only  now  and  then  a  shout  to  show  us  that  they  were  on  hand  and 
attending  to  us.  Otherwise  nothing  occurred  to  break  the  stillness 
of  the  night,  but  a  shot  from  one  of  the  Delawares  fired  at  a  wolf 
as  it  jumped  over  a  log.  In  our  experienced  camp  no  one  moved, 
but  Delaware  Charley  crept  up  to  me  to  let  me  know  what  had 
caused  the  shot  of  the  Delaware  who,  with  hostile  Indians  around, 
instinctively  fired  at  a  moving  thing  that  might  have  been  an 
Indian  crawling  towards  our  horses. 

The  Horse-thief  tribes  have  been  "Christian  Indians"  of  the  Mis- 
sions, and  when  these  were  broken  up  by  Mexico  the  Indians  took 
to  the  mountains.-""'  Knowing  well  the  coast  country,  and  the  exact 
situation  of  the  Missions  where  they  had  lived  and  the  ranchos  and 
the  range  which  their  horses  were  accustomed  to,  they  found  it  easy 
to  drive  off  the  animals  into  the  mountains,  partly  to  use  as  saddle- 
horses,  but  principally  to  eat. 

In  time  they  became  a  scourge  to  the  settlements.  The  great  ranges 
which  belonged  with  the  ranchos  not  only  supported  many  thou- 
sands of  cattle,  but  also  many  hundreds  of  horses  which  were  di- 
vided into  bands,  "manadas."  The  Indians  were  the  vaqueros  or 
herdsmen  who  attended  to  both;  herding  the  cattle,  and  breaking 
in  the  colts.  The  Californians  had  great  pleasure  in  their  horses.  On 
some  ranchos  there  would  be  several  hundred  saddle-horses,  in 
bands  of  eighty  or  a  hundred  of  different  colors;  Alazan  (sorrel) 
always  the  favorite  color.  Deprived  of  their  regular  food,  the  Indians 
took  to  the  mountains  and  began  to  drive  off  horses.  Cattle  would 
not  drive  fast  enough  to  avoid  the  first  pursuit.  In  their  early  con- 
dition they  had  learned  to  eat  wild  horse-meat  and  liked  it.  Fami- 
liarity with  the  whites  and  the  success  of  their  predatory  excursions 
made  the  Horse-thief  Indians  far  more  daring  and  braver  than 
those  who  remained  in  fixed  villages,  whether  in  the  mountains  or 
on  the  valley  streams  which  carried  the  name  of  the  different  tribes 
—the  Cosumne,  Mokelumne,  Towalumne,  and  Auxumne  Rivers. 
Probably  all  the  streams  if  their  Indian  names  could  have  been 
known,  received  their  names  from  the  small  tribes  who  lived  upon 

The  Indians  of  this  country  finding  their  food  where  they  lived 
were  not  nomadic.  They  were  not  disposed  to  range,  and  seemed 
unaccustomed  to  intrude  upon  the  grounds  which  usage  probably 


made  the  possession  of  other  tribes.  Their  huts  were  easily  built 
and  permanent;  the  climate  was  fine,  they  lived  mostly  in  the  open 
air,  and  when  they  died  they  were  not  put  in  the  ground  but  up  in 
the  branches  of  the  trees.  The  climate  is  such  that  a  dead  animal  left 
on  the  ground  simply  dries  up  and  only  the  eye  gives  knowledge  of 
its  presence. 

The  springs  and  streams  hereabout  were  waters  of  the  Chauchiles 
[Chowchilla]  and  Mariposas  Rivers  and  the  Indians  of  this  village 
belonged  to  the  Chauchiles  tribe. 

On  some  of  the  higher  ridges  were  fields  of  a  poppy  which,  flut- 
tering and  tremulous  on  its  long  thin  stalk,  suggests  the  idea  of  a 
butterfly  settling  on  a  flower,  and  gives  to  this  flower  its  name  of 
Mariposas — butterflies — and  the  flower  extends  its  name  to  the  stream. 

We  were  only  sixteen  men.  Keeping  in  the  oak  belt  on  the  course 
I  was  pursuing  would  bring  us  farther  among  these  villages,  and 
I  would  surely  have  lost  the  cattle  and  perhaps  some  men  and  horses 
in  attacks  from  these  Indians.  In  the  morning  therefore  I  turned 
down  one  of  the  streams  and  quickly  gained  the  open  country  of 
the  lower  hills.  We  had  gained  but  a  little  distance  on  this  course 
when  an  Indian  was  discovered  riding  at  speed  towards  the  plain, 
where  the  upper  San  Joaquin  reaches  the  valley.  Maxwell  was  ahead 
and  not  far  from  the  Indian  when  he  came  into  sight,  and  knowing 
at  once  that  his  object  was  to  bring  Indians  from  the  river  to  inter- 
cept us,  rode  for  him.  The  Indian  was  well  mounted  but  Maxwell 
better.  With  Godey  and  two  of  the  Delawares  I  followed.  It  was 
open  ground  over  rolling  hills  and  we  were  all  in  sight  of  each 
other,  but  before  we  could  reach  them  a  duel  was  taking  place  be- 
tween Maxwell  and  the  Indian — both  on  foot,  Maxwell  with  pistols, 
the  Indian  with  arrows.  They  were  only  ten  or  twelve  paces  apart. 
I  saw  the  Indian  fall  as  we  rode  up.  I  would  have  taken  him  pri- 
soner and  saved  his  life,  but  was  too  late.  The  Delawares  captured 
his  horse. 

Riding  along  the  open  ground  towards  the  valley  after  a  mile  or 
two  we  discovered  ten  Indians  ahead  going  in  the  same  direction. 
They  saw  us  as  well,  but  took  no  notice  and  did  not  quicken  their 
gait.  When  we  were  about  overtaking  them  they  quietly  turned  into 
a  close  thicket  which  covered  about  eight  acres.  We  gave  the  thicket 
a  wide  berth;  for  ten  Indians  in  such  a  place  were  more  dangerous 
than  so  many  gray  bear. 

Turning  now  to  the  southward  we  continued  on  our  way,  keep- 


ing  a  few  men  towards  the  mountain  to  give  early  notice  of  the  ap- 
proach of  any  Indians.  At  evening  we  encamped  in  a  spring  hollow 
leading  to  the  upper  San  Joaquin  where  it  makes  its  way  among 
the  hills  towards  the  open  valley.  We  were  at  an  elevation  of  1000 
feet  abov€  the  sea;  in  latitude  by  observation  37°  07M7".  The  day 
had  been  mild  with  a  faint  sun  and  cloudy  weather;  and  at  sunset 
there  were  some  light  clouds  in  the  sky  and  a  northeasterly  wind, 
and  a  sunset  temperature  of  45°;  probably  rendered  lower  than 
usual  by  the  air  from  the  mountains,  as  the  foot-hills  have  generally 
a  warmer  temperature  than  the  lower  valley. 

During  the  day  elk  were  numerous  along  our  route,  making  at 
one  time  a  broken  band  several  miles  in  length.  On  the  21st  the 
thermometer  was  at  sunrise  33°;  the  sky  slightly  clouded,  and  in 
the  course  of  the  morning  clouds  gathered  heavy  in  the  southwest. 
Our  route  lay  in  a  southeasterly  direction,  still  toward  the  upper 
Joaquin,  crossing  among  rolling  hills,  a  large  stream,  and  several 
sandy  beds  and  affluents  to  the  main  river.  On  the  trees  along  these 
streams  as  well  as  on  the  hills  I  noticed  mosses.  In  the  afternoon  we 
reached  the  upper  San  Joaquin  River,  which  was  here  about  seventy 
yards  wide  and  much  too  deep  to  be  forded;  a  little  way  below  we 
succeeded  in  crossing  at  a  rapid  made  by  a  bed  of  rock  below  which, 
for  several  miles,  the  stream  appeared  deep  and  not  fordable.  We 
followed  down  it  for  six  or  eight  miles  and  encamped  on  its  banks 
on  the  verge  of  the  valley  plain. 

At  evening  rain  began  to  fall,  and  with  this  the  spring  properly 
commenced.  In  November  there  had  been  a  little  rain,  but  not  suffi- 
cient to  revive  vegetation. 

December  22d.  Temperature  at  sunrise  was  39°.  During  the  night 
there  had  been  heavy  rain,  with  high  wind,  and  there  was  a  thick 
fog  this  morning,  but  it  began  to  go  off  at  8  o'clock  when  the  sun 
broke  through.  We  crossed  an  open  plain  still  in  a  southeasterly 
direction,  reaching  in  about  twenty  miles  the  Tulare  Lake  River. 
This  is  the  Lake  Fork;  one  of  the  largest  and  handsomest  streams 
in  the  valley,  being  about  one  hundred  yards  broad  and  having 
perhaps  a  larger  body  of  fertile  lands  than  any  one  of  the  others. 
It  is  called  by  the  Mexicans  the  Rio  de  los  Reyes.  The  broad  alluvial 
bottoms  were  well  wooded  with  several  species  of  oaks.  This  is  the 
principal  affluent  of  the  Tulare  Lake,  a  strip  of  water  which  receives 
all  the  rivers  in  the  upper  or  southern  end  of  the  valley.  In  time  of 
high  water  it  discharges  into  the  San  Joaquin  River,  making  a  con- 


tinuous  water-line  through  the  whole  extent  of  the  valley.  The  lake 
itself  is  surrounded  by  lowlands  and  its  immediate  shores  are  rankly 
overgrown  with  bulrushes. 

According  to  the  appointment  made  when  I  left  my  party  under 
Talbot,  it  was  a  valley  upon  the  Lake  Fork  to  which  the  guide 
Walker  was  to  conduct  him.  Here  I  expected  to  find  him."^  The 
men,  as  well  as  the  cattle  and  horses,  needed  rest;  a  strict  guard  had 
been  necessary,  as  in  the  morning  Indian  sign  was  always  found 
around  our  camp.  The  position  was  good  in  the  open  ground  among 
the  oaks,  there  being  no  brush  for  cover  to  the  Indians,  and  grass 
and  water  were  abundant.  Accordingly  we  remained  here  a  day 
and  on  the  24th  entered  the  mountain,  keeping  as  nearly  as  possible 
the  valley  ground  of  the  river.  While  in  the  oak  belt  the  travelling 
was  easy  and  pleasant,  but  necessarily  slow  in  the  search  for  our 
people,  especially  here  in  this  delightful  part  of  the  mountain  where 
they  should  be  found.  Several  days  were  spent  here.  At  the  elevation 
of  3500  feet  the  ridges  were  covered  with  oaks  and  pines  intermixed, 
and  the  bottom-lands  with  oaks,  cottonwoods,  and  sycamores.  Con- 
tinuing upward  I  found  the  general  character  of  the  mountain 
similar  to  what  it  was  in  the  more  northern  part,  but  rougher,  and 
the  timber  perhaps  less  heavy  and  more  open,  but  some  trees  ex- 
tremely large.  I  began  to  be  surprised  at  not  finding  my  party,  but 
continued  on,  thinking  that  perhaps  in  some  spread  of  the  river 
branches  I  was  to  find  a  beautiful  mountain  valley.  Small  varieties 
of  evergreen  oaks  were  found  at  the  observed  height  of  9840  feet 
above  the  sea,  at  which  elevation  pi?ius  Lambertiafii  and  other 
varieties  of  pine,  fir,  and  cypress  were  large  and  lofty  trees.  The 
distinctive  oak  belt  was  left  at  about  5000  feet  above  the  sea. 

Indians  were  still  around  the  camp  at  night  and  the  necessity  of 
keeping  the  animals  closely  guarded  prevented  them  from  getting 
food  enough  and,  joined  with  the  rough  and  difficult  country, 
weakened  them.  For  this,  I  usually  made  the  day's  journey  short. 
I  found  the  mountain  extremely  rocky  in  the  upper  parts,  the 
streams  breaking  through  canons,  but  wooded  up  to  the  granite 
ridges  which  compose  its  rocky  eminences.  We  forced  our  way  up 
among  the  head  springs  of  the  river  and  finally  stood  upon  the  flat 
ridge  of  naked  granite  which  made  the  division  of  the  waters  and 
was  11,000  feet  above  the  sea.  The  day  was  sunny  and  the  air  warm 
enough  to  be  not  only  very  agreeable,  but  with  exercise  exhilarating, 
even  at  that  height.  Lying  immediately  below,  perhaps  1000  feet, 


at  the  foot  of  a  precipitous  descent  was  a  small  lake,  which  I  judged 
to  be  one  of  the  sources  of  the  main  San  Joaquin.  I  had  grown,  by 
occasional  privation,  to  look  upon  water  as  a  jewel  beyond  price, 
and  this  was  rendered  even  more  beautiful  by  its  rough  setting.  The 
great  value  to  us  of  the  first  necessaries  of  life  made  a  reason  why 
we  so  seldom  found  gold  or  silver  or  other  minerals.  Ores  of  iron 
and  copper,  and  gold  and  silver,  and  other  minerals  we  found,  but 
did  not  look  for.  A  clear  cold  spring  of  running  water  or  a  good 
camp,  big  game,  or  fossils   imbedded   in   rock,  were  among  the 
prized  objects  of  our  daily  life.  Owens,  after  the  discovery  of  the 
gold  in  California,  reminded  me  that  he  had  once  on  the  American 
Fork  noticed  some  little  shining  grains  which  he  could  see  from 
his  horse  and  which  afterward  we  decided  was  gold,  but  we  were 
not  interested  enough  at  the  time  to  give  it  attention ;  and  Brecken- 
ridge  too  reminded  me  that  he  brought  me  in  his  hand  some  large 
grains  which  I  carelessly  told  him  were  sulphurets  of  iron.  These 
too  were  probably  gold.  As  I  said,  this  bed  of  summit  granite  was 
naked.  Here  and  there  a  pine  or  two,  stunted  and  twisted,  and 
worried  out  of  shape  by  the  winds,  and  clamping  itself  to  the  rock. 
But  immediately  below  we  encamped  in  the  sheltering  pine  woods 
which  now  were  needed,  for  towards  evening  the  weather  threat- 
ened a  change.  The  sky  clouded  over  and  by  nightfall  was  a  uniform 
dull  gray,  and  early  in  the  night  the  roar  of  the  wind  through  the 
pines  had  at  times  the  sound  of  a  torrent.  And  the  camp  was 
gloomy.  We  had  ridden  hard,  and  toiled  hard,  and  we  were  all 
disappointed  and  perplexed,  wondering  what  had  become  of  our 
people.  During  the  night  the  Indians  succeeded  in  killing  one  of 
our  best  mules.  He  had  fed  quietly  into  one  of  the  little  ravines, 
wooded  with  brush  pines,  just  out  of  sight  of  the  guard  near  by, 
and  an  Indian  had  driven  an  arrow  nearly  through  his  body.  Ap- 
parently he  died  without  sound  or  struggle,  just  as  he  was  about  to 
drink  from  the  little  stream. 

The  next  day,  December  31st,  I  made  a  short  camp,  the  catde 
being  tender-footed  and  scarcely  able  to  travel.  To  descend  the 
mountain  we  chose  a  different  way  from  that  by  which  we  had 
come  up,  but  it  was  rocky  and  rough  everywhere.  The  old  year 
went  out  and  the  new  year  came  in,  rough  as  the  country.  Towards 
nightfall  the  snow  began  to  come  down  thickly,  and  by  morning 
all  lay  under  a  heavy  fall.  The  chasms  through  which  the  rivers 
roared  were  dark  against  the  snow,  and  the  fir  branches  were  all 


weighed  down  under  their  load.  This  was  the  end  of  the  few  re- 
maining cattle.  It  was  impossible  to  drive  them  over  the  treacherous 
ground.  The  snow  continued  falling,  changing  the  appearance  of 
the  ground  and  hiding  slippery  breaks  and  little  rocky  hollows, 
where  horse  and  man  would  get  bad  falls.  Left  to  themselves  cattle 
could  easily  work  their  way  to  the  lower  grounds  of  the  mountain 
if  not  killed  by  Indians.  We  had  great  trouble  in  getting  out  from 
the  snow  region.  The  mountain  winter  had  now  set  in,  and  we 
had  some  misgivings  as  we  rode  through  the  forest,  silent  now  with- 
out a  sound  except  where  we  came  within  hearing  of  water  roaring 
among  rocks  or  muffled  under  snow.  There  were  three  ridges  to 
surmount,  but  we  succeeded  in  crossing  them,  and  by  sunset  when 
the  storm  ceased  we  made  a  safe  camp  between  9000  and  10,000 
feet  above  the  sea.  The  temperature  at  sunset  when  the  sky  had 
cleared  was  between  eight  and  nine  degrees. 

The  next  day  we  reached  the  oak  region,  where  spring  weather, 
rain  and  sunshine,  were  found  again.  At  an  elevation  of  4500  feet 
the  temperature  at  the  night  encampment  of  the  3d  of  January  was 
38°  at  sunset  and  the  same  at  sunrise;  the  grass  green  and  growing 
freshly  under  the  oaks.  The  snow  line  at  this  time  reached  down  to 
about  6000  feet  above  the  sea.  On  the  7th  of  January  we  encamped 
again  on  the  Lake  Fork  in  the  San  Joaquin  valley.  Our  camp  was 
in  a  grove  of  oaks  at  an  Indian  village,  not  far  from  the  lake.  These 
people  recognized  the  horse  of  the  Indian  who  had  been  killed 
among  the  hills  the  day  after  our  encounter  with  the  Horse-thief 
village,  and  which  had  been  captured  by  the  Delawares.  It  appeared 
that  this  Indian  had  belonged  to  their  village  and  they  showed  un- 
friendly signs.  But  nothing  took  place  during  the  day  and  at  night 
I  had  a  large  oak  at  the  camp  felled.  We  were  unencumbered  and 
its  spreading  summit  as  it  fell  made  a  sufficient  barricade  in  event 
of  any  sudden  alerte. 

We  found  the  temperature  much  the  same  as  in  December.  Fogs, 
which  rose  from  the  lake  in  the  morning,  were  dense,  cold,  and 
penetrating;  but  after  a  few  hours  these  gave  place  to  a  fine  day. 
The  face  of  the  country  had  already  much  improved  by  the  rains 
which  had  fallen  while  we  were  travelling  in  the  mountains.  Several 
humble  plants,  among  them  the  golden-flowered  violet  {viola  chry- 
santha)  and  er odium  cicutarium,  the  first  valley  flowers  of  the 
spring,  and  which  courted  a  sunny  exposure  and  warm  sandy  soil, 
were  already  in  bloom  on  the  southwestern  hill  slopes.  In  the  foot- 


hills  of  the  mountains  the  bloom  of  the  flowers  was  earlier.  Descend- 
ing the  valley  we  travelled  among  multitudinous  herds  of  elk, 
antelope,  and  wild  horses.  Several  of  the  latter  which  we  killed  for 
food  were  found  to  be  very  fat.  By  the  middle  of  January,  when 
we  had  reached  the  lower  San  Joaquin,  the  new  grass  had  covered 
the  ground  with  green  among  the  open  timber  upon  the  rich  river 
bottoms,  and  the  spring  vegetation  had  taken  a  vigorous  start. 

We  had  now  searched  the  San  Joaquin  valley,  up  to  the  head- 
waters of  the  Tulare  Lake  Fork,  and  failed  to  find  my  party.  They 
were  too  strong  to  have  met  with  any  serious  accident  and  my  con- 
clusion was  that  they  had  travelled  slowly  in  order  to  give  me  time 
to  make  my  round  and  procure  supplies;  the  moderate  travel  serving 
meanwhile  to  keep  their  animals  in   good  order,  and  from  the 
moment  they  would  have  turned  the  point  of  the  California  Moun- 
tain the  whole  valley  which  they  entered  was  alive  with  game- 
antelope  and  elk  and  bear  and  wild  horses.  Accounting  in  this  way 
for  their  failure  to  meet  me  I  continued  on  to  Sutter's  Fort,  at  which 
place  I  arrived  on  the  15th  of  the  month,  and  remaining  there  four 
days  I  sailed  on  Sutter's  launch  for  San  Francisco,  taking  with  me 
eight  of  my  party.  From  Captain  Sutter,  who  was  a  Mexican  magi- 
strate, I  had  obtained  a  passport  to  Monterey  for  myself  and  my 
men.  At  Yerba  Buena,"'  as  it  was  then  called,  I  spent  a  few  days, 
which  Leidesdorff,-""  our  vice-consul,  and  Captain  Hinckley^^  made 
very  agreeable  to  me.  With  Captain  Hinckley  I  went  to  visit  the 
quicksilver  mine  at  New  Almaden,  going  by  water  to  please  the 
captain.  We  were  becalmed  on  the  bay  and  made  slow  progress, 
failing  in  the  night  to  find  the  entrance  to  the  Alviso  embarcadero 
and  spending  in  consequence  a  chilled  and  dismal  night  in  the  open 
boat  tied  up  to  the  rushes.'^"  When  the  light  came  we  found  without 
difficulty  the  embarcadero,  and  the  discomforts  of  the  night  were 
quickly  forgotten  in  a  fortifying  breakfast.  As  may  be  supposed,  the 
mineral  being  so  rare,  this  visit  to  the  quicksilver  mine  was  very 
interesting.  The  owner,  a  Mexican  of  Mexico,  who  was  also,  I  think, 
the  discoverer,  received  us  very  agreeably  and  showed  us  over  the 
mine  and  gave  us  all  the  specimens  we  were  able  to  carry  away 
from  some  heaps  of  the  vermillion-colored  ore  which  was  being 
taken  out.^^  At  the  time  of  our  visit  it  could  have  been  purchased 
for  $30,000.  While  at  Yerba  Buena  I  wrote  to  Mrs.  Fremont  the  fol- 
lowing letter,  which  sums  up  briefly  the  incidents  of  our  journey  so 


far,  and  gives  something  of  the  plans  I  had  in  my  mind  for  the  fu- 

MEMOIRS,  427-52. 

1.  Richard  L.  Owings  (1812-1902),  more  popularly  known  as  Richard  or 
Dick  Owens,  had  been  reared  near  Zanesville,  Ohio.  He  went  to  the  moun- 
tains in  1834  with  Nathaniel  Wyeth's  second  expedition  and  soon  established 
a  close  friendship  with  Kit  Carson.  When  the  men  of  the  third  expedition 
became  involved  in  the  revolt  in  California,  Owens  became  captain  of  Com- 
pany A  in  JCF's  battalion.  He  later  went  to  Washington  as  a  witness  in  the 
court-martial,  but  he  was  not  called  to  testify.  He  returned  to  Taos,  and  in 
Jan.  1849  JCF  wrote  to  JBF,  "Owens  goes  to  Missouri  in  April  to  get  married, 
and  thence  by  water  to  California"  (letter  in  bigelow,  372).  Owens  did 
neither.  He  did  leave  Taos,  but  after  a  short  stay  in  Colorado  he  settled  in 
Delaware  County,  Ind.  In  1854  he  married,  and  in  1872  he  moved  to  Circle- 
ville,  Kans.,  where  he  spent  the  rest  of  his  life  (carter  [1]  and  19  April 
1972  letter  of  Harvey  L.  Carter  to  the  editors). 

2.  Pike's  capture  had  been  on  the  Rio  Conejos,  a  western  affluent  of  the  Rio 
Grande,  not  far  north  of  the  present  Colorado-New  Mexico  border;  it  oc- 
curred south  of  JCF's  position. 

In  his  diary,  portions  of  which  appeared  in  Life  (6  April  1959),  pp.  95- 
104,  Edward  M.  Kern  wrote  that  the  party  encamped  at  Hardscrabble  on 
25  Aug.  where  they  met  Bill  Williams.  Williams  must  have  joined  the  ex- 
pedition, for  a  voucher  indicates  that  he  was  paid  at  Great  Salt  Lake  (before 
the  crossing  of  the  desert)  on  27  Oct.  at  the  rate  of  $1  per  day  for  services  as 
a  guide  from  28  Aug. 

3.  In  his  entry  of  2  Sept.  Kern  also  mentions  encountering  several  bands  of 

4.  JCF  crossed  the  Grand  [Colorado]  River  to  the  upper  White,  which  led 
him  down  the  Green  River.  Crossing  the  Green,  he  went  up  the  Duchesne 
River,  which  he  calls  the  Uinta  on  his  map;  today  the  name  Uinta  is  applied 
to  a  northern  affluent  of  the  Duchesne.  He  then  ascended  the  upper 
Duchesne,  crossed  a  northeastern  extension  of  the  Wasatch  Mountains,  and 
followed  the  Provo  River  down  to  Utah  Lake.  From  here  the  party  moved  to 
the  present  site  of  Salt  Lake  City. 

5.  Entitled  "Carte  generale  du  royaume  de  la  Nouvelle  Espagne  .  .  .  ," 
Baron  Alexander  von  Humboldt's  map  of  New  Spain  was  first  published  in 
the  Atlas  geographique  et  physiqiie  de  royaume  de  la  N ouvelle-Espagne  in 
Paris  in  1811.  For  the  northern  portion  of  his  map  the  German  scientist 
relied  heavily  upon  the  cartography  of  Bernardo  de  Miera  y  Pacheco,  who 
had  mapped  the  1776  expedition  of  Fray  Francisco  Atanasio  Dominguez  and 
Fray  Silvestre  Velez  de  Escalante  to  the  upper  Colorado  River  basin  and  the 
Utah  Valley.  Lake  Timpanogos  on  the  Miera  map,  and  consequently  on 
the  Humboldt  map,  resembles  Salt  Lake  but  is  actually  Utah  Lake,  which  the 
missionary  friars  discovered.  The  Indian  villages  which  they  visited  were  on 
the  Provo  River  east  of  Utah  Lake  and  north  of  the  city  of  Provo.  A  chapter 
on  the  Dominguez-Escalante  expedition  and  a  partial  chapter  on  Humboldt 
and  his  use  of  the  Miera  data  may  be  found  in  c.  i.  wheat,  vol.  1;  a  transla- 
tion of  Escalante's  journal  and  a  colored  copy  of  Miera's  map  may  be  found 
in  BOLTON,  along  with  a  historical  introduction. 


6.  Although  JCF  places  this  particular  episode  near  Grantsville,  it  prob- 
ably occurred  in  Skull  Valley  because  of  the  character  of  the  "run"  (korns, 

7.  His  1848  map  shows  that  he  rounded  the  Oquirrh  Mountains,  camped 
at  the  springs  of  present-day  Grantsville,  then  circled  the  Stansbury  Moun- 
tains into  Skull  Valley  before  setting  off  across  the  Salt  Desert. 

8.  Somewhere  on  the  White  River  Joseph  Reddeford  Walker  had  joined  the 
party  as  a  guide  (Talbot  to  Adelaide  Talbot,  24  July  1846,  DLC — Talbot 
Papers).  In  spite  of  JCF's  statement  that  Walker  knew  nothing  of  the  coun- 
try confronting  them,  he  must  have  been  able  to  supply  some  information. 
In  1833  he  had  become  lost  in  this  region,  and  after  much  suffering  he  and 
his  party  had  reached  the  head  of  the  Humboldt  and  followed  it  to  its  sink. 
A  bit  later  (p.  23)  JCF  admits  that  Walker  was  well  acquainted  with  the 
country  east  of  the  Sierra. 

9.  Probably  a  reference  to  a  preliminary  movement  across  Skull  Valley  to 
Redlum  Spring,  where  JCF  camped  before  crossing  the  Cedar  Mountains 
(korns,  14). 

10.  JCF  must  have  reached  a  point  beyond  Grayback  Mountain,  or  the  fire 
would  have  been  of  no  service  in  guiding  Archambeault  back  across  the 
desert  (korns,  15). 

11.  It  was  in  the  next  year — 1846 — that  emigrant  caravans  took  the  desert 
route  that  came  to  be  known  as  the  Hastings  Cutoff.  Lansford  W.  Hastings, 
author  of  The  Emigrants'  Guide  to  Oregon  and  California  (Cincinnati,  1845), 
probably  met  JCF  at  Sutter's  Fort  in  Jan.  1846  and  learned  of  the  explorer's 
shortcut  to  California.  In  a  few  months  he  went  east  across  the  Sierra  Nevada 
and,  with  the  help  of  James  M.  Hudspeth  and  James  Clyman,  picked  up  the 
Walker-JCF  trail  where  it  intersected  the  emigrant  road  coming  from  Fort 
Hall  on  the  Humboldt  River.  They  followed  it  across  the  desert  and 
eventually  reached  Fort  Bridger  on  Blacks  Fork.  Clyman  went  on  to  St. 
Louis,  but  Hudspeth  and  Hastings  waited  for  the  westward-bound  emigrants 
and  were  successful  in  persuading  a  number  of  emigrant  groups  to  take  the 
desert  shortcut  to  California.  Hudspeth  conducted  the  mounted  WiUiam  H. 
Russell  party  as  far  as  Skull  Valley;  Hastings  took  the  Harlan-Young  party 
down  the  steep  canyons  of  the  Weber  and  across  the  desert  all  the  way  to 
California.  The  Donner  party,  some  days  behind  the  Harlan- Young  wagon 
train,  attempted  to  follow,  but  Hastings  sent  back  a  message  advising  that 
they  cut  a  road  across  the  Wasatch.  Their  progress  was  so  slow  and  their 
difficulties  so  great  that  they  were  caught  by  snow  in  the  Sierra  Nevada  and 
reduced  to  starvation  and  cannibalism.  Following  the  Donner  tragedy,  the 
Hastings  Cutoff  was  discredited,  but  the  gold  rush  fever  of  1849  brought  it 
into  general  use  again.  For  some  biographical  details  on  Hastings,  see 
ANDREWS  [1]  and  [2]. 

12.  JCF  does  not  make  much  of  his  feat  of  crossing  the  desert.  It  was  ac- 
complished late  in  October,  and  his  party  was  mounted.  But  emigrants, 
crossing  in  late  summer  and  making  fifteen  miles  a  day  with  heavy-laden 
wagons  and  oxen,  suffered  incredibly. 

13.  From  the  east  base  of  Pilot  Butte,  the  expedition  traveled  in  a  south- 
westerly direction  and  probably  camped  at  the  spring  on  the  north  side  of 
Morris  Basin  (clyman,  330). 

14.  Whitton  Spring,  named  after  Jesse  W.  Whitton,  is  present  Mound 
Springs  or  nearby  Chase  Springs  in  Independence  Valley. 


15.  Before  JCF  put  this  name  on  his  map,  it  was  known  as  Mary's  or 
Ogden's  River. 

16.  According  to  Talbot's  letter  to  his  mother  of  24  July  1846  (DLC — Talbot 
Papers)  he  was  in  charge  of  the  main  body,  and  according  to  Edward  M. 
Kern  the  division  of  the  party  took  place  on  5  Nov.  at  Mound  Springs — not 
after  8  Nov.  on  the  waters  of  the  Humboldt  as  is  implied  here  (see  Doc. 
No.  5). 

17.  JCF  wrote  Jessie  from  Yerba  Buena,  24  Jan.  1846,  that  his  volunteer 
party  consisted  of  fifteen. 

18.  JCF's  route  from  northeastern  Nevada  to  Walker  Lake  had  been  roughly 
a  diagonal  one,  and  the  table  of  latitudes  and  longitudes  in  the  Geographical 
Memoir  of  1848  permits  a  fairly  easy  tracing.  After  dividing  his  party,  he 
led  his  own  detachment  south  and  west.  Passing  south  of  Franklin  Lake,  he 
went  into  Ruby  Valley  and  across  the  Humboldt  [Ruby]  Mountains,  prob- 
ably by  Harrison  Pass.  The  camp  of  8  Nov.  was  on  Crane's  branch,  un- 
doubtedly Twin  Creek,  an  affluent  of  the  south  fork  of  the  Humboldt.  Pro- 
ceeding south  over  tortuous  ground,  he  went  through  Ruby  Pass  into 
Diamond  Valley  and  camped  on  11  Nov.  at  Conner  Spring,  named  after 
one  of  his  Delawares,  James  Connor.  Continuing  a  southwest  course,  he 
skirted  the  Monitor  Range  and  crossed  the  Toquima  Range  into  Big  Smoky 
Valley.  Following  along  the  east  side  of  the  Toiyabe  Mountains,  he  rounded 
them  at  the  southern  end  and  proceeded  to  the  east  shore  of  Walker  Lake, 
crossing  two  more  low  ranges  on  the  way.  fletcher,  435-38,  mack,  100-101, 
and  KEVINS  &  morgan,  xxvii-xxviii,  also  note  in  detail  JCF's  route  across  the 
Great  Basin. 

19.  For  the  route  of  the  main  party,  see  Doc.  No.  5,  pp.  48-63. 

20.  This  pass,  which  came  to  be  known  as  Donner  Pass,  was  first  used  by 
the  California  emigrants  of  1844.  See  note  11  above  for  the  Donner  party 
in  1846. 

21.  Named  for  Aaron  Hamilton,  one  of  the  few  voyageurs  who  made  the 
round  trip  to  California  with  JCF.  He  was  paid  off  in  St.  Louis  in  1847. 

22.  NEW  HELVETIA  DIARY  notes  JCF's  arrival  on  10  Dec. 

23.  Francisco  de  la  Guerra  (1818-78),  son  of  the  wealthy,  cultivated,  and 
influential  Jose  de  la  (luerra  y  Noriega,  would  serve  as  mayor  of  Santa 
Barbara  for  several  years  after  1851. 

24.  After  the  American  conquest  of  California,  Pedro  Carrillo,  son-in-law 
of  Juan  Bandini,  was  made  collector  at  San  Pedro,  San  Diego,  and  finally  at 
Santa  Barbara,  where  he  also  became  alcalde.  He  was  elected  a  member  of 
the  CaHfornia  legislature  in  1853,  and  in  1884  he  unsuccessfully  sought  the 
position  of  register  in  the  Los  Angeles  Land  Office  (rieder). 

25.  Between  1834  and  1836  the  twenty-one  California  missions  were  secular- 
ized and  their  lands  gradually  divicled  among  the  private  ranchos.  By 
Governor  Figueroa's  proclamation  of  9  Aug.  1834  half  the  property  was  sup- 
posed to  go  to  the  Indians,  but  even  if  a  few  of  them  did  procure  land,  they 
retained  it  for  only  a  few  years.  Some  found  employment  on  private  ranchos 
or  in  the  towns.  Many  sank  into  vice  and  drunkenness.  Others  left  the 
coastal  areas  to  live  with  Indian  tribes  in  the  interior.  As  for  the  Franciscan 
fathers,  many  remained  at  the  mission  churches  to  continue  their  religious 
duties  (bean,  62-68;  servin). 

26.  Walker  mistook  the  Kern  for  the  "Lake  Fork"  of  the  Tulares  and 
halted  there. 

27.  It  was  while  at  Yerba  Buena  in  Jan.  1846  that  JCF  bestowed  the  name  of 


Chrysopylae  or  Golden  Gate  upon  the  strait  uniting  the  Bay  of  San  Francisco 
with  the  Pacific  Ocean,  "on  the  same  principle  that  the  harbor  of  Byzantium 
(Constantinople  afterwards)  was  called  Chrysoceras  (golden  horn)."  See 
FREMONT  [3],  32n. 

28.  William  Alexander  Leidesdorff  (1810-48)  had  been  appointed  U.S.  vice- 
consul  in  Oct.  1845  by  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin.  The  son  of  a  Danish  father 
and  a  mulatto  mother,  he  had  grown  up  in  the  Danish  West  Indies  and  had 
come  to  California  in  1841  as  master  of  the  Julia  Ann,  sometimes  called 
simply  the  ]ulia.  He  obtained  Mexican  citizenship  and  a  reputation  as  a 
prominent  businessman  and  real  estate  owner  (r.  e.  cowan). 

29.  Massachusetts-born  William  Sturgis  Hinckley  was  a  Mexican  official — 
captain  of  the  port  of  San  Francisco.  He  dated  his  permanent  residence  in 
California  from  1840,  although  for  many  years  before  that  time  he  had  been 
trading  in  and  out  of  California  ports.  Ironically,  by  dying  in  June  1846, 
Hinckley  managed  to  escape  arrest  by  JCF's  men. 

30.  The  Alviso  embarcadero  was  at  the  head  of  the  navigable  slough  that 
extends  south  from  San  Francisco  Bay.  In  early  mission  days  it  was  called 
the  Embarcadero  de  Santa  Clara  de  Asis  and  had  played  an  important  part  in 
the  life  of  the  settlers  at  Mission  Santa  Clara  and  Pueblo  de  San  Jose.  The 
development  of  the  quicksilver  mines  at  New  Almaden  and  the  discovery  of 
gold  at  Coloma  were  to  stimulate  anew  Alviso's  shipping  industry  (abeloe, 

31.  The  owner,  Don  Andres  Castillero,  had  discovered  the  New  Almaden  in 
1845.  JCF  defied  Gen.  Jose  Castro  a  few  weeks  after  his  visit  to  the  mine,  and 
Castillero  was  sent  to  Mexico  to  reiterate  the  danger  of  the  American  menace 
and  to  speed  up  military  measures  for  California.  For  a  history  of  the  mine, 
see  JOHNSON  [2];  for  Castillero's  activities  as  a  diplomat  before  1845,  see 
TAYS  [1]. 

4.  Fremont  to  Jessie  B.  Fremont 

Yerba  Buena,  January  24,  1846 

I  crossed  the  Rocky  Mountains  on  the  main  Arkansas,  passing 
out  at  its  very  head-water;  explored  the  southern  shore  of  the  Great 
Salt  Lake,  and  visited  one  of  its  islands.  You  know  that  on  every 
extant  map,  manuscript  or  printed,  the  whole  of  the  Great  Basin  is 
represented  as  a  sandy  plain,  barren,  without  water,  and  without 
grass.  Tell  your  father  that,  with  a  volunteer  party  of  fifteen  men, 
I  crossed  it  between  the  parallels  of  38°  and  39°.  Instead  of  a  plain, 
I  found  it,  throughout  its  whole  extent,  traversed  by  parallel  ranges 
of  lofty  mountains,  their  summits  white  with  snow  (October)  while 
below,  the  valleys  had  none.  Instead  of  a  barren  country,  the  moun- 
tains were  covered  with  grasses  of  the  best  quality,  wooded  with 


several  varieties  of  trees,  and  containing  more  deer  and  mountain 
sheep  than  we  had  seen  in  any  previous  part  of  our  voyage.  So 
utterly  at  variance  with  every  description,  from  authentic  sources, 
or  from  rumor  or  report,  it  is  fair  to  consider  this  country  as  hitherto 
wholly  unexplored,  and  never  before  visited  by  a  white  man.  I  met 
my  party  at  the  rendezvous,  a  lake  southeast  of  the  Pyramid  Lake; 
and  again  separated,  sending  them  along  the  eastern  side  of  the 
Great  Sierra,  three  or  four  hundred  miles  in  a  southerly  direction, 
where  they  were  to  cross  into  the  valley  of  the  San  Joaquin,  near 
its  head.  During  all  the  time  that  I  was  not  with  them,  Mr.  Joseph 
Walker  was  their  guide,  Mr.  Talbot  in  charge,  and  Mr.  Kern  the 
topographer.  The  eleventh  day  after  leaving  them  I  reached  Captain 
Sutter's,  crossing  the  Sierra  on  the  4th  December,  before  the  snow 
had  fallen  there.  Now,  the  Sierra  is  absolutely  impassable,  and  the 
place  of  our  passage  two  years  ago  is  luminous  with  snow.  By  the 
route  I  have  explored  I  can  ride  in  thirty-five  days  from  the  Fo?itaine 
qui  Bouit  River  to  Captain  Sutter's;  and,  for  wagons,  the  road  is 
decidedly  far  better. 

I  shall  make  a  short  journey  up  the  eastern  branch  of  the  Sacra- 
mento, and  go  from  the  Tlamath  Lake  into  the  Wahlahmath  valley, 
through  a  pass  alluded  to  in  my  report;  in  this  way  making  the 
road  into  Oregon  far  shorter,  and  a  good  road  in  place  of  the  pres- 
ent very  bad  one  down  the  Columbia.  When  I  shall  have  made  this 
short  exploration,  I  shall  have  explored  from  the  beginning  to  end 
this  road  to  Oregon. 

I  have  just  returned  with  my  party  of  sixteen  from  an  exploring 
journey  in  the  Sierra  Nevada,  from  the  neighborhood  of  Sutter's  to 
the  heads  of  the  Lake  Fork.  We  got  among  heavy  snows  on  the 
mountain  summits;  they  were  more  rugged  than  I  had  elsewhere 
met  them;  suffered  again  as  in  our  first  passage;  got  among  the 
'Horse-thieves'  (Indians  who  lay  waste  the  California  frontier), 
fought  several,  and  fought  our  way  down  into  the  plain  again  and 
back  to  Sutter's.  Tell  your  father  that  I  have  something  handsome 
to  tell  him  of  some  exploits  of  Carson  and  Dick  Owens,  and  others. 

I  am  now  going  on  business  to  see  some  gentlemen  on  the  coast, 
and  will  then  join  my  people,  and  complete  our  survey  in  this  part 
of  the  world  as  rapidly  as  possible.  The  season  is  now  just  arriving 
when  vegetation  is  coming  out  in  all  the  beauty  I  have  often  de- 
scribed to  you;  and  in  that  part  of  my  labors  I  shall  gratify  all  my 
hopes.  I   find   the  theory  of  our  Great  Basin  fully  confirmed   in 


having  for  its  southern  boundary  ranges  of  lofty  mountains.  The 
Sierra,  too,  is  broader  where  this  chain  leaves  it  than  in  any  other 
part  that  I  have  seen.  So  soon  as  the  proper  season  comes,  and  my 
animals  are  rested,  we  turn  our  faces  homeward,  and  be  sure  that 
grass  will  not  grow  under  our  feet. 

All  our  people  are  well,  and  we  have  had  no  sickness  of  any  kind 
among  us;  so  that  I  hope  to  be  able  to  bring  back  with  me  all  that 
I  carried  out.  Many  months  of  hardships,  close  trials,  and  anxieties 
have  tried  me  severely,  and  my  hair  is  turning  gray  before  its  time. 
But  all  this  passes,  et  le  bon  temps  vicfidra  [and  good  times  will 
soon  be  here]. 

Excerpt,  first  printed  in  Niles'  National  Register,  70  (16  May  1846)  :161, 
and  later  in  the  memoirs,  452-53. 

5.  Journal  of  Edward  M.  Kern  of  an  Exploration 

of  the  Mary's  or  Humboldt  River,  Carson  Lake, 

and  Owens  River  and  Lake,  in  1845 

Washington,  September  10,  1860. 

Sir:  In  compliance  with  your  request  for  information  regarding 
a  portion  of  the  route  pursued  by  the  expedition  to  the  Rocky 
Mountains  and  California  under  command  of  Capt.  J.  C.  Fremont, 
in  the  year  1845,  I  inclose  you  a  copy  of  my  journal,  which  you  are 
at  liberty,  if  it  will  be  in  any  way  serviceable  to  you,  to  make  such 
use  of  as  you  may  think  fit.  Truly,  your  obedient  servant, 

Edw.  M.  Kern. 
Capt.  J.  H.  Simpson, 
U.S.  Corps  Topographical  Engineers. 

[5  Nov.  1845-15  Feb.  1846] 

November  5,  1845. — Whitten's  Spring  [Mound  or  Chase  Springs]. 
To-day  we  parted  company,  the  captain  passing  to  the  southward 
with  a  small  party,  to  examine  that  portion  of  the  Great  Basin  sup- 
posed to  be  a  desert,  lying  between  the  Sierra  Nevada  and  the  Rocky 


Mountains.  The  main  body  of  the  camp,  under  the  guidance  of  Mr. 
Joseph  Walker,  are  to  move  toward  the  head  of  Mary's  or  Ogden's 
[Humboldt]  River,  and  down  that  stream  to  its  sink  or  lake.  From 
thence  to  Walker's  Lake,  where  we  are  again  to  meet.  I  am  to  ac- 
company the  latter  party  in  charge  of  the  topography,  &c.  Crossing 
the  [Pequop]  mountains  near  our  camp,  we  arrived  about  1  o'clock 
p.m.  at  several  springs  of  excellent  water.  These  springs  spread  into 
a  large  marsh,  furnishing  an  abundant  supply  of  good  grass  for  the 
animals.  On  the  6th,  owing  to  a  severe  snow-storm,  we  were  obliged 
to  remain  in  camp.  Having  no  timber  but  a  few  green  cedars,  fires 
were  not  very  abundant. 

On  the  7th  we  commenced  our  ascent  by  a  steep  and  rocky  road. 
The  snow  was  falling  lightly  when  we  started,  but  before  we  reached 
the  summit,  we  were  nearly  blinded  by  the  storm. ^  A  short  descent 
brought  us  into  a  pleasant  valley,  well  watered  by  several  small 
streams,  and  timbered  with  aspen  and  cottonwood.  This  is,  really, 
a  beautiful  spot,  surrounded  by  high  mountains,  those  on  the  west 
covered  with  snow.  Crossing  a  low  range  of  hills,  we  entered  an- 
other valley,  that  takes  its  waters  from  the  snowy  mountains  on 
either  side.  The  stream,  after  winding  among  the  grass-covered 
hills,  emerges  into  a  plain,  through  which  we  could  see  Ogden's 
River  flowing.  Walker  has  give  this  creek  the  name  of  Walnut 
Creek,  from  one  of  his  trappers  having  brought  into  his  camp  a 
twig  of  that  tree  found  near  its  head;  a  tree  scarcely  known  so  far 
west  as  this.  Camped  on  Walnut  Creek,  having  made  14|  miles 

November  8. — At  about  6  miles  from  our  camp  of  last  night,  we 
struck  Ogden's  River.  It  is  about  25  feet  wide  here  and  about  2  feet 
deep,  with  a  tolerable  current.  Crossing  without  difficulty,  we  struck 
the  emigrant  wagon-trail."  Continuing  down  it  for  a  few  miles,  we 
encamped  a  little  below  where  the  river  receives  a  tributary  of  con- 
siderable size,  coming  from  the  northwest.  Made  to-day  about  14 

November  9. — Still  on  the  emigrant  trail.  This  has  proved  of 
great  assistance  to  our  tired  animals;  they  appear  to  have  new  life. 
Met  to-day  several  Sho-sho-nee  Indians,  who  report  three  separate 
parties  of  emigrants  having  passed  this  fall.  About  four  miles  above 
our  camp  of  to-night  are  some  hot  springs  [Elko],  too  hot  to  bear 
one's  hand  in.  Walnut  Creek  empties  into  the  river  about  H  miles 
below  our  camp.  Made  19  miles. 

November  10. — Crossed  the  river  several  times.  At  one  point,  the 


high,  rocky  ridges  that  bound  the  bottom  came  so  close  to  the  banks 
of  the  river,  we  were  obHged  to  pass  in  the  water.  The  timber  is 
principally  cottonwood. 

November  11. — We  left  the  river  to  avoid  a  bend  it  makes.  As- 
cending some  grassy  hills,  encamped  at  several  springs.  Bunch-grass 
plenty;  11  miles. 

November  12. — Continued  among  the  hills  for  about  five  miles, 
when  we  again  struck  the  river.  The  country  is  becoming  more 
open.  The  hills  on  the  right  make  a  wide  sweep  from  the  river,  re- 
turning to  it  again  at  our  camp  of  this  evening,  November  13.  On 
the  left  bank  the  mountains  are  close  and  high  and  rugged  in  their 
character.  Near  our  camp  on  this  bank  they  make  a  bend  forming 
a  valley,  through  which  one  would  suppose  the  river  to  flow.  The 
character  of  the  rocks  is  changing;  more  bold,  basaltic. 

The  river  presents  but  little  variety,  always  the  same  winding, 
crooked  stream.  On  the  23d  November,  we  arrived  at  the  [Hum- 
boldt] sink  or  lake.  This  lake  is  about  8  miles  long  by  2  in  width; 
it  is  marshy,  overgrown  with  bulrushes,  at  the  upper  end.  On  the 
eastern  side  is  a  range  of  low  hills  at  the  upper,  and  increasing  in 
height  at  the  lower  end  of  the  lake.  On  the  western  side  is  a  level 
plain  of  clay  mixed  with  sand.  The  country  here  becomes  more 
desolate  in  its  appearance.  We  have  been  fifteen  days  on  this  river, 
making  a  distance  of  nearly  200  miles.  The  grass  has  been  generally 
good.  The  only  timber  is  a  few  cottonwood  trees  and  willows;  the 
latter  are  in  great  abundance  on  its  banks,  though  very  small.  The 
river-bottoms  vary  from  4  to  20  miles  in  width.  Vegetation  failing 
as  we  approach  the  sink,  the  soil  becoming  more  sandy  and  sterile. 
The  Indians  we  first  met  were  better  clad  than  one  would  suppose; 
having  also  a  few  horses  among  them.  As  we  approached  the  sink, 
however,  they  appeared  much  more  indigent  and  shy,  hiding  from 
us  on  our  approach;  raising  smokes  and  other  signs  of  warning  to 
their  friends  of  the  approach  of  strangers.  They  belong  to  the  Ban- 
nack  tribe  of  Diggers,  and  are  generally  badly  disposed  toward  the 
whites.  Walker  was  attacked  some  two  [twelve]  years  since  by  a 
party  of  them  numbering,  he  thought,  near  600;  these  he  defeated 
without  loss  to  his  own  party.  The  loss  on  the  part  of  the  Indians 
numbered  16.'^  Walker  was  engaged  at  that  time  exploring  for  a 
route  into  California,  through  the  Sierra  Nevada. 

A  curious  feature  of  this  river  is  the  number  of  small  streams  near 
its  banks  and  immediately  in  its  bed.  We  tried  the  temperature  of 


one  on  the  10th  instant  with  a  thermometer  graduated  to  160°,  to 
which  point  the  mercury  rose  in  a  few  seconds.  From  its  situation, 
forming  as  it  does  a  long  line  of  travel  of  the  emigrant  parties,  this 
river  will  soon  become  an  interesting  and  noted  point  in  this  now 
great  wilderness.  Portions  of  its  immediate  bottoms  may  be  capable 
of  cultivation;  but  the  bare,  sandy  bluffs  that  surround  or  border  it, 
produce  little  save  bunch-grass,  and  no  timber.  Great  numbers  of 
ducks  and  geese  are  to  be  found  in  this  region.  A  small  gray  duck 
is  of  excellent  flavor.  Provisions  becoming  scarce.  Leaving  our  camp 
of  the  24th  November,  on  the  outlet  of  the  lake,  we  crossed  a  low, 
gravelly  ridge,  mixed  with  heavy  sand,  for  4  or  5  miles;  we  then 
struck  a  level  plain  resembling  the  dry  bed  of  a  lake,  extending  to  a 
low  range  of  hills  on  the  western  side  10  or  12  miles  distant,  and 
from  20  to  25  miles  on  the  eastern  side,  running  in  a  northeasterly 
direction,  and  continuing  east  of  Ogden's  or  Mary's  Lake,  probably 
connecting  with  some  of  the  high  ranges  visible  from  the  river  on 
the  18th  and  19th.  As  on  the  plains  on  the  western  side  of  the  Great 
Salt  Lake,  the  incrustation  yielded  to  the  tread  of  our  horses.  Noth- 
ing can  appear  worse  then  the  surrounding  country;  the  glare  of 
the  white  sand,  relieved  only  by  the  rugged  distant  mountains,  the 
absence  of  animal  and  vegetable  life,  make  up  a  whole  in  the  way 
of  dreariness  and  desolation. 

The  outlet  of  Ogden's  Lake,  after  running  several  miles  toward 
the  rim  of  this  basin,  forms  a  large  marsh  in  the  midst  of  the  sand- 
hills. Our  animals  failing,  we  encamped  among  the  sand-hills,  with- 
out grass  or  water. 

November  25. — A  couple  of  hours'  ride  this  morning  brought  us 
to  the  outlet  of  another  lake  [Carson  Lake],  where  we  encamped, 
having  ridden  twenty-five  miles.  The  water  in  this  stream  is  run- 
ning, but  is  indifferently  good.  The  banks  are  from  8  to  10  feet  high; 
growth  willow.  Sand-hills  on  either  side.  On  the  east  runs  a  low 
rocky  range,  beyond  which  are  ridges  and  peaks  of  higher  moun- 
tains. About  eight  miles  below  us  this  stream  forms  a  large  marsh, 
hidden  from  us  by  sand-hills.  Walker  tells  me  that  its  waters  are 
extremely  disagreeable.  I  found  skulls  of  the  natives  killed  here  by 
Walker's  partv  some  ten  |  twelve]  years  since.  The  emigrants  turn 
toward  the  California  Mountains  from  the  sink  of  Ogden's  River. 
After  a  noon  halt  and  rest  to  our  animals,  we  crossed  and  continued 
down  the  river,  camping  near  the  lake. 

November  26. — In  a  southeasterlv  direction  nine  miles  along  the 


border  of  the  lake.  For  30  or  40  yards  about  its  edge  in  width  is  a 
thick  growth  of  bulrushes.  It  is  a  very  pretty  sheet  of  water;  various 
kinds  of  fowl  in  abundance.  The  greatest  length  is  about  11  miles. 
On  the  eastern  side  runs  a  low  range  of  burnt  rock  hills.  The  lake 
is  bounded  on  the  west  by  a  low  range  of  mountains ;  about  midway 
on  the  western  side  a  stream  [Carson  River]  enters  it.  Slightly  tim- 
bered; probably  cottonwood. 

November  27. — In  a  southern  course,  over  a  level  for  about  3 
miles,  then  crossing  a  low  ridge  of  sand  and  burnt  rock  down  an 
open  ravine,  leading  into  a  larger  plain,  we  made  camp  among  the 
sand-hills,  at  some  Indian  wells  of  bad  water,  thoroughly  impreg- 
nated with  sulphur.  These  wells,  with  a  little  trouble,  could  be 
made  a  good  watering-place;  but,  as  they  now  are,  it  was  with 
greatest  difficulty  that  we  could  procure  a  sufficiency  for  our  ani- 
mals. There  was  plenty  of  good  bunch-grass  about  camp;  no  fuel  but 
greasewood.  Continuing  our  route  over  low,  heavy  sand-hills,  we 
rejoined  Captain  Fremont  at  our  place  of  rendezvous.  Walker's 
Lake.  He  had  reached  that  point  four  days  ahead  of  us,  having 
traveled  over  a  mountainous  country,  finding  in  his  route  plenty  of 
grass,  water,  game,  and  Indians;  the  latter  very  shy,  not  being  ac- 
customed to  the  sight  of  white  men  in  their  desolate  country.  The 
river  of  Walker's  Lake  is  a  fine,  bold  stream,  30  to  40  feet  wide,  with 
considerable  current,  timbered  with  fine  large  cottonwoods,  its  bot- 
toms covered  with  a  luxuriant  growth  of  grass,  wild  peas,  and 
rushes.  We  had  anticipated  a  glorious  feast  of  fish  on  our  arrival 
at  this  point,  from  the  glowing  descriptions  Walker  had  given  us  of 
great  quantities  of  fine  salmon-trout  which  frequent  the  river  and 
lake.  In  this,  however,  we  were  doomed  to  disappointment.  The 
fishing  season  being  over,  "Carro  hoggi"  was  the  only  reply  we 
could  obtain  to  our  many  signs  and  inquiries  after  the  finny  tribe 
from  the  few  Indians  that  still  lingered  about  the  lake. 

To-morrow  (November  29)  Captain  Fremont  leaves  us  again, 
this  time  to  take  his  old  trail  of  1843,  while  the  main  body  of  camp 
will  continue  down  the  eastern  slope  of  the  Sierra  Nevada,  which 
Walker  had  discovered  when  exploring  this  section  of  the  country 
some  10  years  ago.  We  will  remain  here  9  or  10  days  to  recruit  our 
animals,  as  many  of  them  are  exhausted. 

December  8. — Once  more  took  up  our  line  of  march.  During  our 
stay  at  our  camp  on  Walker's  River  the  weather  has  been  clear  and 
cold.  Thermometer  at  sunset  23°  above  zero,  and  at  sunrise  4°.  The 


river  frozen  hard ;  it  has  been  a  strange  mixture  of  winter  and  sum- 
mer.  The  Indians  are  of  much  lower  grade  than  any  I  have  yet  seen. 
They  are,  however,  very  friendlv.  I  visited  some  of  their  huts  near 
the  mouth  of  the  river.  Thev  had  some  very  pretty  decoy-ducks, 
made  from  the  skin  of  those  birds,  neatlv  stretched  over  a  bulrush 
float.  There  were  four  or  five  old  women  hovering  over  a  fire  of  a 
few  willow  twigs  of  six  or  eight  inches  in  length.  I  thought  if  the 
personification  of  witches  ever  existed,  these  were  of  them.  Their 
withered  bodies,  almost  entirelv  naked  and  emaciated,  their  faces 
smeared  with  dirt  and  tar,  the  dull,  idiotic  stare  of  their  eyes, 
trembling  from  cold  and  dread  of  our  intentions  toward  them,  ren- 
dered them  to  me  the  most  pitiable  objects  I  had  ever  seen.  A  couple 
of  children,  nestling  close  to  the  fire,  showed  more  the  signs  of 
wonder  in  their  countenances  than  fear.  Some  of  these  children, 
notwithstanding  the  hardships  of  their  lives,  only  dependent  on 
grass-seeds  and  the  few  fish  they  can  catch,  any  large  game  being 
unknown  hereabouts,  have  really  lively  and  interesting  counte- 
nances; but  the  expression  leaves  them  with  youth;  their  future, 
being  one  of  continued  privation,  soon  dulls  the  light  of  the  eye,  and 
the  face  becomes  heavy  and  stolid  in  expression.  It  was  at  this  camp 
we  have  made  our  first  essay  on  horse-meat.  Throwing  aside  all 
antipathies  I,  with  the  others,  enjoyed  our  meal.  On  this  river,  with 
but  a  couple  of  exceptions,  is  the  onlv  large  timber  we  have  met 
since  leaving  the  Timpanogos.  Traveling  three  miles  on  the  river 
and  about  twelve  on  the  shores  of  the  lake,  we  made  our  camp 
among  some  low  sand-hills.  A  range  of  burnt  rock  hills  extends  a 
few  miles  further  back,  while  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  lake  the 
dark  mountains  come  bluff  to  the  water's  edge.  No  fuel  but  grease- 
wood  and  grass.  We  longed  heartily  for  the  fires  of  our  last  ten-days' 
camp,  the  weather  being  excessively  cold. 

December  9. — Camped  near  the  head  of  the  lake.  No  grass;  the 
water  exceedingly  bad  and  salty.  Charley,  (our  cook)  to  improve(  ?) 
the  already  horrid  taste  given  to  our  coffee  by  the  bad  water,  added 
some  greasewood  or  other  noxious  weed,  giving  it  a  flavor  too  un- 
savory even  for  appetites  as  keen-set  as  ours.  This  lake  is  about 
twenty-two  miles  in  length,  and  eleven  or  twelve  in  the  widest  part. 
To  the  eastward  of  our  camp  runs  a  valley.  About  twelve  miles 
down  it  Walker  says  he  found  springs  of  good  water  and  an 
abundance  of  good  grass,  the  springs  forming  a  small  lake.  To-night 
the  horses,  driven  to  desperation  by  their  bad  fare,  a  large  number 


of  them  eluding  the  vigilance  of  the  guard  escaped  to  the  other  side 
of  the  lake,  where  they  were  found  in  the  morning,  having  discov- 
ered somewhat  better  grass  than  we  had  at  our  camp. 

December  10. — Leaving  camp  we  traveled  up  a  valley  leading 
from  the  southern  end  of  Walker's  Lake,  a  little  east  of  south;  at 
about  eight  miles  we  crossed  a  low  ridge,  heavy  sand  and  scattering 
bunch-grass.  Traveling  up  the  general  direction  of  a  ravine,  in  a 
southeasterly  course  for  about  six  miles,  we  made  camp  late  at  some 
springs  near  the  foot  of  a  basaltic  rock  ridge. 

December  11. — Continued  our  route  down  the  valley  in  a  south- 
erly direction.  Walker's  trail  of  two  years  ago  passed  to  the  left  of 
our  camp  three  or  four  miles.  Passed  several  wells  dug  by  the  In- 
dians, but  they  were  dry.  Also,  a  large  corral  or  pen  made  of  sage 
and  cedars  for  the  purpose  of  ensnaring  deer.  Continued  about  six 
miles  into  the  mountains  by  a  rough  and  broken  road.  Were  unable 
to  find  water.  In  the  evening  we  encamped  among  some  of  the 
largest  sage  I  have  ever  seen.  This  gave  us  an  abundance  of  fuel,  and 
also  served  us  in  constructing  pens  about  our  different  campfires  as 
a  protection  from  the  cold.  We  soon  forgot  in  slumber  our  lack  of 
water.  Here  we  killed  our  last  beef,  if  what  was  left  of  the  animal 
could  be  dignified  by  such  a  name. 

December  12. — To-day  we  obtained  a  fine  view  of  the  great  Sierra 
Nevada  from  the  far  north  till  it  faded  on  the  distant  horizon  far 
to  the  south  of  us.  This  bold  and  rocky  barrier,  with  its  rugged 
peaks,  separates  us  from  the  valley  of  California.  We  are  to  travel 
along  its  base  till  by  its  lessening  height  it  will  offer  but  a  slight  ob- 
stacle to  our  passage  across  it.  To  the  southeast  and  east  of  us  moun- 
tain rises  beyond  mountain  as  far  as  the  eye  can  see.  Descending  by 
a  break-neck  road  we  reached,  toward  evening,  a  small  valley,  where 
we  made  camp.  We  found  a  portion  of  the  sand  leveled  very  smooth 
and  some  willow  hoops  lying  about,  with  fresh  signs  to  convince  us 
that  the  place  had  not  long  been  vacated  by  a  party  of  Indians. 

December  13. — Still  among  the  burnt  rock  hills,  interspersed  with 
grassy  valleys.  Descending  into  a  large,  open,  grassy  valley,  we  fed 
upon  the  dry  bed  of  a  stream  that  has  both  wood  and  water  six  or 
seven  miles  farther  up.  Camped  at  a  large  spring  that  spreads  into 
a  marsh. 

December  14. — Traveled  down  the  same  valley.  Water  rises  and 
sinks,  breaking  through  a  rocky  ridge  to  the  east;  rising  again  in 
several  cold  springs  at  the  entrance  of  the  gap,  runs  a  short  distance 


and  forms  a  stinking  lake.  Crossing  the  ridge  by  an  Indian  trail,  we 
came  into  another  valley  watered  by  a  fine  warm  stream,  in  which 
I  took  a  delightful  bath.  Good  grass  and  plenty — quite  a  treat  for 
our  tired  animals.  The  boys  brought  in  some  roots  they  had  found 
near  a  couple  of  Indian  huts,  the  inmates  having  fled  at  their  ap- 
proach. The  root  was  of  some  water-plant  of  good  flavor.  They  were 
plaited  together  in  ropes,  something  after  the  manner  of  doing  up 
onions  at  home.  Our  old  cook  at  fault  again  to-day,  boiling  a  large 
piece  of  rosin  soap  in  our  coffee.  Rather  unlucky  just  now,  when 
cofiFee  is  coffee. 

December  15. — The  same  water  of  yesterday  still  finds  its  way 
into  another  valley  more  to  the  east.  We  crossed  into  this.  Its 
greatest  length  is  from  north  to  south.  On  the  eastern  side  is  a  high 
chain  of  mountains,  about  the  height  of  those  on  eastern  side  of 
Utah  Lake.  The  mountains  throw  out  some  small  streams,  which 
sink  before  they  fairly  reach  the  valley.  The  road  in  the  forenoon  of 
to-day  broken  and  sandy.  We  have  gained  four  days  on  Walker's 
route  of  1843,  from  camp  of  December  10  to  this  place.  A  better 
route  lies  to  the  right  of  our  road. 

December  16. — To-day  struck  Owen's  River.  It  is  a  fine,  bold 
stream,  larger  than  Walker's.  The  same  chain  of  mountains  bounds 
it  on  the  east,  while  on  the  western  side  rises,  like  a  wall,  the  main 
chain  of  the  California  Mountains.  Our  rations  are  becoming  ex- 
tremely scant.  The  men  being  all  on  foot,  they  feel  their  appetites 
much  quickened  by  the  additional  exercise  of  walking.  A  few  more 
days  we  hope  will  bring  us  to  the  land  of  plenty. 

December  17  and  18. — Still  on  the  river;  obliged  to  keep  some 
distance  from  it  on  account  of  a  large  marsh.  Wild-fowl  in  abun- 
dance. Walker  went  in  search  of  some  salt,  which  he  found,  in- 
crusted  to  the  thickness  of  a  quarter  of  an  inch  on  the  surface  of 
the  earth.  The  Indians  are  numerous  here,  though  they  keep  out 
of  sight.  They  are  badly  disposed.  Colonel  Childs  [Joseph  B.  Chiles] 
had  trouble  with  them  here.  They  shot  one  of  his  men.  Walker's 
party  killed  some  twenty-five  of  them,  while  on  his  side  some  of 
his  men  were  wounded  and  eight  or  nine  horses  killed."* 

December  19. — Camped  on  [Owens]  lake  near  the  mouth  of  river. 
Grass  poor.  Ducks  and  geese  plentiful. 

December  20. — Traveling  down  the  lake.  Main  California  Moun- 
tains close  on  our  right  within  half  a  mile  of  us.  This  lake  is  some- 
what irregular  in  its  shape,  lying  north  and  south;  is  about  fifteen 


miles  long,  the  widest  part  about  seven  miles.  On  the  western  side 
there  are  several  capes.  It  is  surrounded  by  high  mountains.  Water 
strong,  disagreeable,  salty,  nauseous  taste.  There  are  Indian  fires 
among  the  rocks  within  half  a  mile  of  us.  None  ventured  nearer. 
They  appear  to  be  well  supplied  with  horses,  judging  from  the 
quantity  of  sign.  Along  the  route  of  to-day  we  crossed  several  streams 
coming  from  the  mountains,  some  of  them  dry;  all  slightly  timbered 
with  Cottonwood. 

December  21. — Leaving  lower  end  of  lake,  we  passed  among  some 
sandy  hollows,  falling  into  a  larger  ravine  leading  south.  Passing  a 
good  camp  for  grass  and  water,  the  hollow  narrowed,  bounded  by 
hills  of  minutely  broken  black  rock,  opening  afterward  into  a  large 
plain;  camped  at  some  springs  on  the  slope  of  the  main  California 
Mountains;  grass,  fresh  and  green,  owing  to  the  late  rains.  To-day 
we  met  for  the  first  time  the  yuca  [Joshua]  tree,  nicknamed  by  the 
men  "Jeremiah,"  in  lieu  of  some  better  title.  These  trees  have  a 
grotesque  appearance,  a  straight  trunk,  guarded  about  its  base  by 
long  bayonet-shaped  leaves;  its  irregular  and  fantastically  shaped 
limbs  give  to  it  the  appearance  of  an  ancient  candelabra.  It  bears 
a  beautiful  white  flower.  We  passed  to-day  Child's  [Walker's]  cache, 
where,  on  account  of  his  animals  failing,  he  was  obliged  to  bury 
the  contents  of  his  wagons,  among  which  was  a  complete  set  of  mill- 

December  22.— Passed  to-day  a  salt-lake,  half  a  mile  long  and 
about  200  yards  wide;  leaving  this,  we  turned  up  a  large  hollow,  for 
about  four  miles,  to  find  a  camp.  At  this  point  there  may  be  a  pass 
over  the  mountains,  judging  from  the  number  of  Indian  trails  join- 
ing together  here.  The  ascent,  however,  is  very  steep,  and  it  was 
judged  advisable  not  to  attempt  it,  our  animals  not  being  in  a  con- 
dition to  undergo  any  such  experiments.  So  we  continued  our  route 
in  a  southerly  direction,  among  the  foot-hills  of  the  mountains. 

December  23  and  24.— Still  among  the  hills.  On  the  23d,  a  mule 
was  lost,  with  its  pack.  Archambeau[lt],  Stradspeth  [Benjamin  M. 
Hudspeth],  and  [James  T.]  White  were  sent  back  in  search  of  it; 
returned  on  the  evening  of  the  24th,  with  the  animal.  The  mule 
was  loaded  with,  to  us,  a  very  valuable  cargo,  sugar  and  coffee,  with 
some  of  the  "possibles,"  of  Stradspeth  and  White.  The  mule  had 
wandered  up  one  of  the  many  ravines  in  the  hillsides.  When  the 
Indians  were  discovered,  they  were  sitting  very  coolly  among  the 
rocks,  where  they  had  driven  the  mule,  dividing  the  spoils;  there 


were  three  of  them.  Of  the  sugar  they  had  made  a  just  division,  but 
the  coffee  was  to  them  perfectly  useless.  They  had  already  charred 
and  pounded  it,  without  coming  to  any  satisfactory  conclusion  as  to 
its  use.  The  "possibles"  shared  the  same  fate  as  the  eatables.  Among 
the  articles  a  blanket  and  an  overcoat.  Being  three  in  their  party, 
and  being  unable  to  divide  these  things  equally  in  any  other  way, 
one  had  taken  the  blanket,  and  tearing  the  coat  in  two,  gave  a  half 
of  it  to  each  of  the  others.  On  our  men  showing  themselves,  they 
fled  precipitately,  leaving  the  property  behind.  Collecting  and  rear- 
ranging the  pack,  the  men  started  for  camp,  bringing  with  them, 
as  proof  of  their  victory,  some  bows  and  arrows,  a  large  sack  of  sage- 
seed,  about  as  digestible  as  sand,  and  a  small  sack  of  some  com- 
pound, which  we  could  not  make  out;  it  was  very  palatable  with 
coffee,  of  a  dark  chocolate  color.* 

Our  Christmas  was  spent  in  a  most  unchristmas-like  manner. 
Our  camp  was  made  on  the  slope  of  the  mountain,  at  some  Indian 
wells  of  good  water.  The  yuca  tree  is  here  in  great  abundance,  fur- 
nishing us  a  plentiful  supply  of  fuel.  The  camp-fires  blazed  and 
cracked  joyously,  the  only  merry  things  about  us,  and  all  that  had 
any  resemblance  to  that  merry  time  at  home.  The  animals,  on  ac- 
count of  grass,  were  guarded  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  from  camp, 
higher  up  the  mountain. 

December  25. — Christmas  day  opened  clear  and  warm.  We  made 
our  camp  to-day  at  some  springs  among  the  rocks;  but  little  grass 
for  our  animals.  Dined  to-day,  by  way  of  a  change,  on  one  of  our 
tired,  worn  mules,  instead  of  a  horse. 

Turning  from  our  camp  of  the  25th  into  the  mountain  by  an  easy 
ascent,  and  over  a  somewhat  broken  road,  arriving  on  the  27th, 
on  the  head-waters  of  a  river.f  Continuing  down  this  stream,  on 
the  28th  we  made  camp  at  its  forks.  This  is  the  appointed  place  of 
rendezvous.  There  are  no  signs  yet  of  the  Captain.  Our  provisions 
have  entirely  failed;  save  the  few  remaining  horses  of  our  cavallada, 
there  was  not  much  prospect  of  obtaining  fresh  supplies.  To  have 
killed  these  would  have  been  to  deprive  us  of  the  means  of  transpor- 
tation of  our  effects  and  the  results  of  the  expedition,  in  case  we 

*  I  have  seen  the  same  dish  among  the  Indians  of  California;  it  is  prepared 
from  roasted  grasshoppers  and  large  crickets,  pounded  up,  and  mixed  with, 
when  procurable,  some  kind  of  animal  grease. 

t  Now  called  Kern  River. 


are  not  joined  by  Captain  Fremont  in  this  place.  A  party  of  Indians 
visited  our  camp,  from  whom  we  traded  a  colt.  The  hunters  brought 
in  a  few  small  deer,  the  meat  extremely  poor.  A  small  piece  of  veni- 
son, with  as  much  cold  water  as  one  could  drink,  furnished  break- 
fast, dinner,  and  supper  in  one.  We  became  reduced  to  acorns,  and 
on  this  swinish  food  made  our  New-Year's  feast.  This  forms  the 
principal  food  of  the  natives,  here  and  in  the  valley.  Our  camp  is 
situated  in  a  beautiful  valley,  about  six  miles  in  length,  and  well- 
timbered  with  pine,  cedars,  and  cottonwood,  while  the  mountains 
which  surround  it  are  of  the  usual  growth  of  the  Sierra,  the  majestic 
redwood,  &c.  The  river  is  a  bold  stream,  coming  from  the  northeast. 
The  Indians  inhabiting  this  region  are  of  the  most  degraded  class, 
entirely  naked,  and  with  scarcely  a  sufficiency  of  food  to  sustain 
life.  I  was  amused  at  coming  suddenly  on  a  half  a  dozen  of  these 
characters;  being  armed,  they,  probably  having  a  dread  of  pistols, 
immediately  commenced  crossing  themselves  in  the  most  devout 
manner,  at  the  same  time  muttering  "Christiano,  Christiano,"  the 
probable  extent  of  their  Spanish,  hoping  to  avert  any  evil  intent  we 
might  have  had  toward  them. 

Since  leaving  Walker's  Lake  we  have  traveled  through  a  country 
having  a  few  pretty  spots,  but  for  the  most  part  a  sandy  waste, 
broken  by  short  chains  and  isolated  mountains.  Bunch-grass  is  found 
among  most  of  the  sand-hills.  Water,  save  in  the  rivers,  is  not  to  be 
had  in  anything  like  a  sufficiency.  Piiion  and  willow  are  the  princi- 
pal timbers.  From  our  camp  of  December  26,  toward  the  south,  as 
far  as  the  eye  could  reach,  lay  a  continued  plain  of  sand,  relieved 
only  by  an  occasional  hill  of  burnt  rock  rearing  itself  above  the 
level,  adding,  if  possible,  to  the  desolation  of  the  scene,  with  no 
game,  save  now  and  then  a  hare,  and  perchance  a  stray  goat.^  Liz- 
ards are  here  in  abundance,  and  form  the  principal  food  of  the 
hungry  natives.  At  our  camp  the  weather  has  been  extremely  fine, 
warm,  and  sunshine.  On  the  13th  of  January  there  was  a  severe 
storm  of  snow  and  sleet;  a  shower  followed  that  soon  removed  all 
appearance  of  winter  from  the  valley,  but  the  mountains  retained 
this,  their  first  winter  covering. 

Januarv  18,  1846.— Raised  camp  and  traveled  about  five  miles 
into  the  mountains,  stopping  for  the  night  at  the  hunter's  camp,  in 
a  pretty  valley;  snow  about  two  feet  deep.  An  abundance  of  the  most 
beautiful  timber,  live-oak,  pine,  redwood,  &c. 

January  19.— To-day  we  reached  the  summit;  snow  2i  feet  deep. 


From  here  we  had  the  first  view  of  the  much-wished-for  Valley  of 
California.  It  lay  beneath  us,  bright  in  the  sunshine,  gay  and  green, 
while  about  us  everything  was  clothed  in  the  chilly  garb  of  winter. 

On  the  21st  January  we  reached  the  valley;  our  descent  was  rough 
and  broken;  the  mountain  well  watered  and  densely  timbered. 
Among  the  foot-hills  are  beautiful  groves  of  live  and  other  oaks, 
clear  from  growth  of  underwood;  the  fine  grass  gives  the  country 
the  appearance  of  a  well-kept  park.*'  We  passed  two  Indian  villages; 
the  huts  were  built  of  tule  or  bulrush.  The  men  entirely  naked ;  the 
only  covering  the  women  possessed  was  a  kind  of  petticoat  made  of 
tule.  The  country  is  much  cut  up  by  gullies.  The  weather  is  warm 
like  spring,  the  young  grass  and  some  few  flowers  just  putting  forth. 
Notice  a  small  blue  flower  particularly  very  abundant. 

Crossing  several  small  streams  that  find  their  way  into  the  great 
Tulare  Lake,  we  encamped,  on  the  evening  of  the  26th  of  January, 
on  a  fine  bold  stream.*  The  whole  country  is  well  watered,  and 
capable  of  high  cultivation.  Oaks  and  willows  in  abundance.  The 
river  heads  in  the  Sierra  Nevada,  running  in  a  west,  a  little  south, 
and  then  in  a  southerly  direction.  Walker  thinking  to  make  a  cut- 
off at  the  bend,  we  were  obliged  to  spend  a  most  uncomfortable 
night  at  some  holes  of  water,  amid  a  storm  of  cold  rain,  with  no  fuel 
save  a  few  willows. 

January  28. — After  searching  in  vain  for  the  river,  we  camped,  at 
9  o'clock  at  night,  among  the  foot-hills  of  the  Coast  range,  without 
grass,  water,  or  fire,  having  traveled  through  immense  fields  of  old 
tule,  the  horses  sinking  at  almost  every  step  as  deep  as  their  bellies; 
having  to  be  hauled  out  only  to  sink  again,  owing  to  the  loose  rotten 
soil.  This  has  been  the  most  tedious  day  we  have  had  since  we 
entered  the  valley,  and  particularly  trying  to  our  animals  in  their 
present  weak  state.  Cloudy  and  rainy  all  day.' 

January  29. — Leaving  our  miserable  camp  of  last  night  early  this 
morning,  we  struck  a  northerly  course,  passing  a  large  dry  creek 
timbered  with  cottonwood,  over  a  plain  destitute  of  vegetation  (the 
grass  and  shrubbery  having  been  destroyed  by  the  wild  horses),  we 
made  camp  on  a  large  slough.^  Manuel,  to-day,  killed  a  fat  wild 

*  The  Rio  Reyes,  or  Lake  Fork. 

t  Walker  mistook  this  river  for  the  South  Fork  of  the  San  Joaquin. 
+  This  slough,  at  high  water,  connects  the  waters  of  the  San  Joaquin  with 
the  great  Tulare  Lake. 


horse — as  acceptable  a  thing  as  could  have  happened,  as  we  were 
out  of  meat,  and  had  been  so  for  two  days. 

January  30. — Continuing  down  the  slough  for  four  or  five  miles, 
we  struck  a  bold  stream — the  San  Joaquin.  It  is  heavily  timbered 
with  oak  and  willow.  Wild  horses  and  elk  begin  to  show  themselves. 

February  1. — Jim  Connor  and  Wetowa  (two  Delawares)  tracked 
a  large  grizzly  bear  to  his  thicket.  The  whole  camp  prepared  them- 
selves for  the  attack:  after  much  difficulty,  he  was  killed.  This  ani- 
mal was  one  of  the  largest  size;  he  must  have  weighted  at  least  900 
pounds.  This  acquisition  to  our  larder  enlivened  the  spirits  of  the 
men,  and  mirth  abounded  at  the  various  camp-fires  that  night;  the 
song  and  joke,  the  accompaniments  of  plenty  in  the  wilderness, 
could  be  heard  everywhere. 

Continuing  up  the  valley  toward  Suter's  fort,  on  the  6th  we  ar- 
rived and  made  camp  on  the  Calaveras,  a  tributary  of  the  San 
Joaquin.  Messrs.  Fabbol  and  Walker  started  on  ahead  to  hear  if 
they  could  obtain  any  tidings  of  Captain  Fremont.  They  returned 
again  in  the  evening  in  company  with  Big  Fallen  [Fallon],  an  old 
mountaineer,  known  more  commonly  by  the  sobriquet  of  "Le 
Gros."^  From  him  we  learned  that  the  captain  was  at  the  pueblo  of 
San  Jose  with  the  rest  of  his  camp.  The  next  morning  Fallen  and 
Walker  started  for  the  pueblo  to  give  him  intelligence  of  our  where- 
abouts, while  we  would  return  to  the  crossing  of  the  San  Joaquin  to 
await  further  orders.  Yesterday  Jim  Secondi  [Sagundai]  (a  Dela- 
ware) killed  another  bear,  the  counterpart  of  the  one  killed  on  the 
1st  instant. 

February  11. — To-day  we  were  joined  by  Carson  and  Owens,  at 
the  crossing.  Crossing  the  river  in  boats  or  rafts,  made  of  tule. 

February  15. — To-day  we  met  a  party  of  the  boys  with  fresh  horses, 
sent  out  to  meet  us.  We  passed  through  the  pueblo  of  San  Jose.  The 
country  between  the  pueblo  and  the  Calaveras  is  beautiful,  and  well 
suited  for  cultivation;  the  streams  are  well  timbered  with  different 
species  of  oaks.  The  flowering  season  is  commencing,  adding  great 
beauty  to  the  plains,  by  their  variegated  colors.  The  mission  of  San 
Jose  is  about  twelve  miles  from  the  town,  situated  at  the  foot  of  a 
mountain,  on  the  road  from  the  crossing  of  the  San  Joaquin.  It 
was  formerly  one  of  the  richest  missions  in  the  upper  country;  it 
presents  now  but  a  poor  appearance,  and  shows  the  evil  resulting 
from  the  removal  of  the  padres,  whose  posts  were  replaced  by  rapac- 
ious "administradors"  of  government.  The  building  is  very  large  and 


built  of  adobes;  the  roof  is  of  tiles.  Long  rows  of  adobe  buildings, 
one  story  high,  used  as  the  dwellings  of  the  native  converts,  are  now 
in  a  most  dilapidated  condition,  scarcely  affording  shelter  for  the 
few  miserable  Indians  who  still  cling  to  those  hearths,  where  they 
had  been  raised,  by  the  kindness  of  the  founders,  to  something  like 
civilization.  The  remains  of  the  gardens  and  vineyards  show  the 
care  and  labor  bestowed  on  the  grounds  by  the  fathers.  Opposite 
to  the  mission,  on  an  eminence,  is  the  Campo  Santro;  the  entrance 
to  it  is  surmounted  bv  a  large  cross.  From  here  we  can  see  an  arm 
of  the  bay  of  San  Francisco.  The  pueblo  of  San  Jose  is  a  small  town 
of  some  50  or  60  houses,  most  of  them  in  a  very  crumbling  condi- 
tion, showing  the  slothful  habits  of  the  people.  We  arrived  about 
noon  at  the  "Laguna  farm,"  where  we  rejoined  Captain  Fremont, 
who  was  anxiouslv  awaiting  our  arrival."  Both  parties  were  again 
united,  without  any  serious  accident  having  happened  to  either,  and 
both  had  had  their  share  of  hard  times. 

Note. — When  separating  from  Captain  F.  on  Walker's  Lake,  Walker  had 
given  a  description  of  the  valley  of  California,  where  a  river  which  he 
supposed  to  be  the  Rio  Reyes  (and  on  which  we  encamped  from  the  27th  of 
December  till  the  18th  of  January,  1846,  the  same  which  is  now  called  Kern's 
River),  enters  the  valley,  the  description  and  the  rude  map  which  I  made 
from  it,  answered  to  the  markings  of  the  country  very  well.  Supposing  we 
had  entered  the  valley  at  the  river  Reyes,  we  crossed  the  several  small  streams 
that  find  their  way  into  the  Tulare  Lake,  and  when  reaching  the  Lake  Fork 
or  Rio  Reyes,  he  (Walker)  fancied  himself  on  the  South  Fork  of  San 
Joaquin.  I  remember  Walker's  telling  me  that  the  river  made  a  great  bend 
to  the  southward,  and  to  make  a  cut-off,  we  left  its  banks,  and  in  expectation 
of  again  meeting  it,  traveled  till  we  found  ourselves  climbing  the  Coast 
range.  Walker  had  fallen  into  the  error  on  a  previous  trip  years  ago,  and  had, 
in  search  of  the  river,  crossed  the  Coast  range  toward  Monterey.  On  his  re- 
turn trip  he  left  the  country  by  a  more  southern  pass  in  the  Sierra,  which 
Captain  Fremont  calls  Walker's  pass.  Walker's  old  pass  was  to  the  north- 
ward of  this  by  what  is  now  called  Kern  River.  The  mistake  Walker  made  in 
the  name  of  the  river  on  which  we  had  camped  to  wait  for  Captain  Fremont 
was  the  cause  of  his  failure  to  make  a  junction  with  us,  as  had  been  pre- 
arranged, at  Walker's  Lake;  Captain  Fremont,  as  will  be  found  by  his 
memoir  of  1848,  having  ascended  the  Rio  Reyes  (proper)  in  search  of  our 

E.  M.  K. 

Printed  as  Appendix  Q  in  simpson,  477-86.  This  is  apparently  an  abridg- 
ment of  Kern's  full  journal  of  the  trip  to  California,  covering  the  period  from 
17  .\ug.  1845  to  15  Feb.  1846,  which  in  1959  was  in  possession  of  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Fred  Cron  of  Dingman's  Ferry,  Pa.  Some  extracts  of  the  original  were 
published  in  Lije,  6  April  1959.  Capt.  James  Hervey  Simpson  was  an  old  em- 


ployer  of  Edward  M.  Kern  and  his  brother,  Richard  H.  After  JCF's  fourth 
expedition  broke  up  in  1849,  the  Kern  brothers  had  been  left  stranded  in 
New  Mexico,  but  they  soon  found  employment  with  Simpson  in  drafting  a 
report  of  his  route  from  Fort  Smith  to  Santa  Fe.  A  few  weeks  later  they 
accompanied  him  as  artist-scientists  on  a  military  reconnaissance  of  the 
Navajo  country.  In  1860  Simpson  was  writing  a  report  of  his  1859  survey 
of  a  wagon  route  across  part  of  the  Great  Basin  and  wished  to  have  the 
benefit  of  Kern's  knowledge  gained  from  his  travels  with  JCF. 

1.  The  party  crossed  the  Ruby  Mountains  by  way  of  Secret  Pass. 

2.  The  emigrant  wagon  road  to  California  came  from  Fort  Hall  to  the 
Truckee  River  by  way  of  the  Humboldt. 

3.  Walker's  battles  with  the  Indians  seem  to  have  occurred  in  1833  and 
1834.  WATSON,  53,  70,  records  that  Walker's  party  killed  some  thirty-nine 
Paiutes  in  the  Humboldt  Sink  country  in  Sept.  1833  on  their  route  into 
California  and  some  fourteen  the  next  spring  on  their  way  out. 

4.  Kern  has  confused  his  facts  and  dates.  The  man  shot  was  Milton  Little, 
who  received  an  arrow  wound  in  the  breast  while  on  guard  duty  one  night 
(WilHam  Baldridge  narrative,  pp.  3-4,  CU-B).  He  was  with  the  Walker 
detachment  of  the  1843  Chiles-Walker  expedition  to  California.  Walker 
used  the  pass  which  bears  his  name,  but  Chiles  and  his  group  kept  to  the 
Oregon  Trail  as  far  as  Fort  Boise,  then  struck  off  to  the  west,  up  the 
Malheur  River,  and  on  to  the  waters  of  the  Sacramento  (giffen  [2],  39-43). 
As  noted  above,  the  bloody  battles  with  the  Indians  occurred  in  1833  and 

5.  Kern  was  looking  across  the  Mojave  Desert. 

6.  They  probably  reached  the  valley  of  California  in  the  vicinity  of  White 
River  (farquhar,  93). 

7.  On  this  day  and  perhaps  again  on  30  Jan.,  Kern — who  was  collecting 
western  birds — obtained  specimens  of  Buteo  regalis  (Gray),  the  ferruginous 
hawk  (A.O.U.  348).  In  notes  he  made  later  for  ornithologist  John  Cassin,  he 
wrote  that  some  of  his  party  shot  it  for  the  mess  kettle  whenever  op- 
portunity offered,  finding  it  "very  good  eating."  Cassin  already  knew  the 
bird  as  Falco  jerrugineus  Licht.,  Abh.  K.  Acad.  Berlin  (1838)  and  as  Archi- 
buteo  regalis  Gray,  Genera  of  Birds,  vol.  1,  pt.  1  (May  1844).  He  gave  Kern 
credit,  however,  for  first  bringing  it  to  the  attention  of  American  naturalists — 
perhaps  an  inadvertence — and  indicated  that  its  range  was  rather  restricted. 
Actually  the  bird  ranged  as  far  east  as  Minnesota,  but  too  little  collecting  had 
been  done  by  1846  to  establish  the  full  range.  See  Kern  to  Cassin,  11  May 
1852  (PPAN),  and  cassin,  159-62  and  plate  26.  Biologist  and  author  Paul  R. 
Outright  has  kindly  contributed  his  own  knowledge  to  this  note  and  has 
done  some  further  checking  at  the  Academy  of  Natural  Sciences  of  Phila- 
delphia. A  few  additional  bird  specimens  collected  by  Kern  are  on  deposit 
at  the  academy. 

8.  We  have  no  information  on  Fabbol  beyond  the  fact  that  he  was  a  mem- 
ber of  JCF's  1845  expedition.  He  seems  not  to  have  been  a  member  of  the 
California  Battalion.  A  native  of  St.  Louis,  William  O.  Fallon  had  spent 
many  years  in  the  Rocky  Mountain  fur  trade,  would  participate  in  the 
Bear  Flag  Revolt,  and  would  recruit  for  JCF's  California  Battalion,  in 
which  he  himself  served.  He  would  also  head  the  Donner  Fourth  Relief  and 
serve  as  guide  for  General  Kearny  when  he  went  east  in  1847  (anderson, 
296-300;  bryant,  261-65). 

9.  "Laguna  farm"  was  Rancho  la  Laguna  Seca,  which  belonged  to  William 


Fisher  (d.  1850),  a  sea  captain  from  Boston  who  had  been  Uving  in  Cali- 
fornia for  a  number  of  years  and  who  had  purchased  the  rancho  of  four 
square  miles  in  1845.  Fisher  settled  his  family  there  after  JCF's  February  visit. 

6.  Excerpt  from  the  Memoirs 

[24  Jan.-20  Feb.  1846] 

After  finishing  my  letter^  I  set  out  towards  evening  for  Monterey 
with  Mr.  Leidesdorfif,  who  was  kind  enough  to  give  me  the  advan- 
tage of  his  company.  His  house  was  one  of  the  best  among  the  few 
in  Yerba  Buena — a  low  bungalow  sort  of  adobe  house  with  a  long 
piazza  facing  the  bay  for  the  sunny  mornings,  and  a  cheerful  fire 
within  against  the  fog  and  chill  of  the  afternoons.  His  wife,  a  hand- 
some, girl-like  woman,  Russian  from  Sitka,  gave  the  element  of 
home  which  had  been  long  missing  to  my  experience.^  He  was  a 
cheerful-natured  man,  and  his  garden  and  his  wife  spoke  pleasantly 
for  him. 

We  had  started  rather  late  and  on  the  plain  beyond  the  Mission 
Dolores  in  the  darkness  and  the  fog  we  lost  our  way,  but  wandering 
around  we  were  at  last  rejoiced  by  hearing  the  barking  of  dogs. 
This  soon  brought  us  to  the  rancho  of  Don  Francisco  Sanchez,^  for 
which  we  were  looking,  and  where  we  were  received  with  the  cor- 
dial hospitality  which  in  those  days  assured  a  good  bed  and  a  savory 
supper  to  every  traveller,  and  if  his  horse  happened  to  be  tired  or 
hurt  by  any  accident  a  good  one  to  replace  it  for  the  journey. 

The  next  day  we  rode  along  the  bay  shore,  the  wooded  and  fertile 
character  of  which  needs  no  describing,  and  stopped  for  the  night 
with  Don  Antonio  Sunol.^  This  was  my  first  ride  down  the  valley 
of  San  Jose,  and  I  enjoyed  even  the  passing  under  the  oak  groves 
with  the  branches  cut  off  to  a  uniform  height  by  the  browsing  herds 
of  catde,  listening  the  while  to  Leidesdorff's  account  of  the  fertility 
of  the  country's  vegetation.  His  descriptions  of  this  part  of  the 
country  were  especially  interesting  to  me.  He  was  a  lover  of  nature 
and  his  garden  at  San  Francisco  was,  at  that  time,  considered  a 

After  a  half  day's  riding  from  the  Gomez  rancho,^  across  the 
Salinas  plains,  we  reached  Monterey  and  went  directly  to  the  house 
of  our  consul,  Mr.  Larkin.*'  I  had  come  to  Monterey  with  the  object 


of  obtaining  leave  to  bring  my  party  into  the  settlements  in  order  to 
refit  and  obtain  the  supplies  that  had  now  become  necessary.  All  the 
camp  equipment,  the  clothes  of  the  men  and  their  saddles  and  horse 
gear,  were  either  used  up  or  badly  in  want  of  repair. 

The  next  morning  I  made  my  official  visits.  I  found  the  governor, 
Don  Pio  Pico,'  absent  at  Los  Angeles.  With  Mr.  Larkin  I  called 
upon  the  commanding  general,  Don  Jose  Castro,^  the  prefect,^  al- 
calde,^" and  ex-Governor  Alvarado.^^  I  informed  the  general  and 
the  other  officers  that  I  was  engaged  in  surveying  the  nearest  route 
from  the  United  States  to  the  Pacific  Ocean.  I  informed  them  farther 
that  the  object  of  the  survey  was  geographical,  being  under  the 
direction  of  the  Bureau  of  Topographical  Engineers,  to  which  corps 
I  belonged ;  and  that  it  was  made  in  the  interests  of  science  and  of 
commerce,  and  that  the  men  composing  the  party  were  citizens  and 
not  soldiers. 

The  permission  asked  for  was  readily  granted,  and  during  the  two 
days  I  stayed  I  was  treated  with  every  courtesy  by  the  general  and 
other  officers.^" 

This  permission  obtained  I  immediately  set  about  arranging  for 
supplies  of  various  kinds"  and  for  sending  fresh  horses  to  meet  our 
people;  with  such  supplies  of  lesser  luxuries  as  I  knew  would  be 
grateful  to  them;  and  by  the  middle  of  February  we  were  all  re- 
united in  the  valley  of  San  Jose,  about  thirteen  miles  south  of  the 
village  of  that  name  on  the  main  road  leading  to  Monterey,  which 
was  about  sixty  miles  distant. ^^ 

The  place  which  I  had  selected  for  rest  and  refitting  was  a  vacant 
rancho  called  the  Laguna,  belonging  to  Mr.  Fisher.  I  remained  here 
until  February,  in  the  delightful  spring  season  of  a  most  delightful 
climate.  The  time  was  occupied  in  purchasing  horses,  obtaining  sup- 
plies, and  thoroughly  refitting  the  party. 

I  established  the  rate  of  the  chronometer  and  made  this  encamp- 
ment a  new  point  of  departure.  Observations  put  it  in  longitude  121° 
39'  08",  latitude  37^  13'  32".  This  point  is  but  a  few  miles  distant 
from  what  is  now  the  Lick  Observatory. 

Many  Californians  visited  the  camp,  and  very  friendly  relations 
grew  up  with  us.'"'  One  day  amusements  were  going  on  as  usual, 
the  Californians  showing  our  men  their  admirable  horsemanship. 
One  of  the  largest  vultures  which  are  often  seen  floating  about  over- 


head  had  been  brought  down  with  a  broken  wing  by  one  of  our 
rifles.  This  was  the  point  on  which  we  excelled,  as  the  others  in 
perfect  horsemanship.  The  vulture  was  sitting  on  the  frame  of  a 
cart  to  which  he  had  been  tied;  he  had  gotten  over  his  hurt  and 
would  have  been  treated  as  a  pet,  but  his  savage  nature  would  not 
permit  of  any  approach.  By  accident  a  Californian  had  gotten  a  fall 
and  the  whole  camp  was  shouting  and  laughing,  and  Owens,  his 
mouth  wide  open,  was  backing  towards  the  cart  to  rest  his  arm  on 
the  wheel,  forgetful  of  the  vulture.  The  vulture  with  his  long,  red 
neck  stretched  out  was  seizing  the  opportunity — we  all  saw  it  and 
Owens  saw  our  amusement,  but  not  quite  in  time  to  escape  the  grip 
of  the  vulture. 

It  was  quite  a  picture.  The  vulture  lying  in  wait,  and  Owens' 
unconsciousness,  and  the  hearty  laugh  which  cheered  the  bird's 
exploit.  Owens  got  ofT  with  a  sharp  pinch  and  a  torn  sleeve. 

MEMOIRS,  453-56. 

1.  To  Jessie  B.  Fremont,  24  Jan.  1846,  Doc.  No.  4. 

2.  Leidesdorfif  was  unmarried.  After  his  premature  death  Army  officer 
Joseph  Libbey  Folsom  purchased  all  right  and  title  to  his  estate  from 
Leidesdorff's  mother  and  surviving  brothers  and  sisters,  who  were  living  on 
the  island  of  St.  Croix  (r.  e.  cowan).  The  steamer  which  the  vice-consul 
purchased  from  the  Russian  American  Company  in  the  fall  of  1847  for  use 
in  his  hide  and  tallow  trade  became  known  as  the  Sit1{a — at  least  after  she 
sank — having  been  constructed  in  the  Russian  port  of  that  name  (j.  h. 

3.  Owner  of  Rancho  San  Pedro  in  San  Mateo  County,  Francisco  Sanchez 
later  organized  a  Californian  force  which  captured  Lieut.  Washington  Allon 
Bartlett  and  five  men  on  8  Dec.  1846.  The  Americans  were  engaged  in  a 
foray  to  carry  off  cattle.  It  is  Wiltsee's  opinion  that  Sanchez  hoped  to 
organize  a  revolt  of  all  Upper  Californians  to  cooperate  with  Jose  Maria 
Flores's  revolt  south  of  the  Tehachapi  (see  wiltsee  fl],  123-28). 

4.  Antonio  Maria  Sunol  (ca.  1800-1865),  a  native  of  Spain,  had  deserted 
from  the  French  naval  service  and  settled  in  San  Jose,  where  he  became 
subprefect  in  1841.  By  that  time,  too,  he  had  acquired  the  Rancho  San  Jose 
del  Valle. 

5.  Rancho  Verjeles,  owned  by  Jose  Joaquin  Gomez,  who  had  the  reputation 
of  being  friendly  to  the  United  States.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  was  captured 
by  the  Californians  at  the  Ciomez  rancho  in  Nov.  1846. 

6.  Born  in  Massachusetts,  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  (1802-58)  had  come  to 
California  in  1832  and  gradually  built  up  a  prosperous  trade.  He  served  as 
U.S.  consul  at  Monterey,  and  in  1846  Archibald  Gillespie  brought  a  secret 
dispatch  appointing  him  "Confidential  Agent  in  California,"  under  the 
authority  of  which  he  launched  a  propaganda  campaign  to  separate  California 
from  Mexico  peacefully,  in  furtherance  of  President  Polk's  expansionist 
policy.  He  was  actually  not  very  sympathetic  to  the   Bears,  as  will  become 


Jose  Castro.  From  a  portrait  in  the  Bancroft  Library. 


evident  later.  Larkin  was  appointed  U.S.  naval  agent  by  Commodore 
Stockton  in  Aug.  1846 — an  appointment  confirmed  by  President  Polk  in 
March  1847,  and  one  which  JCF  tried  unsuccessfully  to  obtain  in  1848. 

7.  Pio  Pico  (1801-94),  sympathetic  to  English  rather  than  American  inter- 
ests in  California,  was  actually  the  provisional  governor,  though  his  claim  to 
the  office  was  confirmed  in  Mexico,  and  on  18  April  1846  he  took  the  oath  as 
constitutional  governor. 

8.  Gen.  Jose  Castro  (ca.  1810-60)  had  a  long  career  of  public  service.  Al- 
though he  often  switched  sides  in  California  politics  and  conflicts,  he  was 
consistent  in  his  patriotism  and  genuinely  concerned  about  the  American 
threat  in  California. 

9.  Manuel  de  Jesus  Castro  (b.  1821),  a  cousin  but  not  a  supporter  of  Gen. 
Jose  Castro  in  his  political  rivalry  with  Pio  Pico.  After  the  Angelenos  revolted 
against  Gillespie,  Manuel  de  Jesus  Castro  was  put  in  command  of  the 
northern  division.  When  Flores  was  defeated,  Castro  fled  to  Mexico  with  him 
but  later  returned  to  San  Francisco,  although  he  never  became  a  U.S.  citizen 
(pioneer  register). 

10.  The  alcalde  of  Monterey  in  Jan.  1846  was  Manuel  Diaz,  owner  of  a 
Sacramento  rancho  and  somewhat  friendly  to  the  United  States  (pioneer 

11.  Juan  Bautista  Alvarado  (1809-82)  had  been  governor,  first  revolutionary 
and  then  constitutional,  of  California  from  1836  to  1842.  He  was  the  grantee 
of  several  ranchos,  including  the  famous  Las  Mariposas,  which  Larkin  was  to 
purchase  for  JCF  on  10  Feb.  1847. 

12.  Historians  have  usually  considered  JCF's  request  to  winter  and  pro- 
vision his  men  in  California  a  verbal  one,  and  JCF  himself  in  an  interview 
in  Dec.  1884  with  the  historian  Josiah  Royce  remembered  the  request  as 
being  verbal  (Royce's  memorandum  of  an  interview  with  JCF  and  JBF, 
CU-B).  Certainly  no  letter  of  JCF  to  Castro  has  been  found.  However,  to  a 
copy  of  his  own  letter  to  the  prefect  of  the  Second  District,  Larkin  has  added 
this  interesting  note,  implying  that  the  request  had  been  a  written  one:  "The 
General  was  at  his  own  request  officially  informed  by  Captain  Fremont  of 
his  motives  in  coming  here,  which  motives  were  accepted  by  Gen.  Castro  in 
not  answering  the  letter"  (larkin,  4:186-87).  In  the  same  1884  interview  with 
Royce,  JCF  recalled  obtaining  permission  not  only  to  rest  and  resupply  the 
party  on  the  frontiers — i.e.,  in  the  San  Joaquin  Valley — but  to  travel  through 
the  country  and  examine  the  passes  to  the  coast.  Talbot  wrote  his  mother  that 
the  captain  had  permission  "to  pass  through  the  country  &  buy  stores  and 
recruit  generally"  (letter  of  24  July  1846,  DLC— Talbot  Papers),  but  it  must 
be  remembered  that  Talbot  had  been  in  the  San  Joaquin  Valley  at  the  time 
of  JCF's  visit  to  Monterey  and  could  know  only  what  the  explorer  might 
have  told  him.  In  his  court-martial  defense,  probably  written  by  Benton,  the 
implication  is  that  JCF  had  permission  to  winter  in  the  valley  of  the  San 
Joaquin.  Certainly  Larkin  gave  the  impression  that  JCF's  men  were  to  be 
left  on  the  frontiers  of  the  Second  Department  and  that  as  soon  as  JCF 
obtained  the  necessary  supplies  in  Monterey,  he  would  continue  on  to 
Oregon  (Larkin  to  Manuel  de  Jesus  Castro,  29  Jan.  1846,  larkin,  4:186-87). 
In  Doc.  No.  15  Larkin  implies  that  JCF's  later  difficulty  with  the  Mexican 
authorities  arose  from  his  camping  too  near  towns,  but  another  document, 
later  by  one  day,  indicates  that  General  Castro  may  have  changed  his  policy 
after  granting  permission.  "Since  then  the  General  states,  that  he  has  re- 
ceived by  the  Hannah,  positive  orders  from  Mexico,  to  drive  Captain  Fremont 


from  the  Country"  (Larkin  to  "The  Commander  of  any  American  Ship  of 
War,  in  San  Bias,  or  Mazatlan,"  9  March  1846,  larkin,  4:243-44).  General 
Castro  wrote  to  the  Minister  of  War  from  Monterey  on  6  March,  "But  two 
days  ago  I  was  much  surprised  at  being  informed  that  this  person  [JCF]  was 
only  two  days'  journey  from  this  place"  (cal.  his.  soc.  docs.,  4:375). 

13.  On  1  March  1846  Larkin  wrote  the  U.S.  consul  at  Vera  Cruz  that  he 
had  purchased  for  JCF's  party  "common  shirts  at  over  three  dollars  each, 
common  heavy  jackets  twelve  to  fourteen  dollars."  On  6  March  he  for- 
warded to  Joel  Giles  two  drafts,  one  for  $1,000  and  one  for  $800,  both  drawn 
by  JCF  on  the  chief  of  the  Topographical  Bureau.  JCF  received  cash  for  his 
drafts.  Both  letters  are  in  larkin,  4:215-17,  235-36. 

14.  The  brief  account  which  JCF  gives  of  the  activities  of  the  Talbot- 
Walker-Kern  detachment  is  omitted  here,  as  Kern's  journal  (Doc.  No.  5) 
gives  a  fuller  account. 

15.  But  apparently  there  were  also  some  irritations,  as  the  next  document 
will  indicate. 

7.  Fremont  to  Jose  Dolores  Pacheco 

Camp  Near  Road  to  Santa  Cruz 
February  21,  1846 


I  received  your  communication  of  the  20th/  informing  me  that  a 
complaint  had  been  lodged  against  me  in  your  office  for  refusing  to 
deliver  up  certain  animals  of  my  band,  which  are  claimed  as  havmg 
been  stolen  from  this  vicinity  about  two  mo7iths  since;  and  that  the 
plaintiff  further  complains  of  having  been  insulted  in  my  camp. 

It  can  be  proven  on  oath  by  thirty  men  here  present,  that  the 
animal  pointed  out  by  the  plaintiff  has  been  brought  in  my  band 
from  the  United  States  of  North  America.  The  insult  of  which  he 
complains,  and  which  was  authorized  by  myself,  consisted  in  his 
being  ordered  immediately  to  leave  the  camp.  After  having  been 
detected  in  endeavoring  to  obtain  animals  under  false  pretences, 
he  should  have  been  well  satisfied  to  escape  without  a  severe  horse- 

There  are  four  animals  in  my  band  which  were  bartered  from 
the  Tulare  Indians  by  a  division  of  my  party  which  descended  the 
San  Joaquin  Valley.  I  was  not  there  present,  and  if  any  more  legal 
owners  present  themselves,  these  shall  be  immediately  delivered 
upon  proving  property.  It  may  save  some  trouble  to  inform  you 
that,  with  this  exception,  all  the  animals  in  my  band  have  been 


Thomas  Oliver  Larkin.  From  a  print  in  Walter  Colton,  Three  Years  in 
California  (New  York,  1850).  Courtesy  of  the  University  of 

Illinois  Library. 


purchased  and  paid  for.  Any  further  communications  on  this  subject 
will  not,  therefore,  receive  attention.  You  will  readily  understand 
that  my  duties  will  not  permit  me  to  appear  before  the  magistrates 
of  your  towns  on  the  complaint  of  every  straggling  vagabond  who 
may  chance  to  visit  my  camp.  You  inform  me  that  unless  satisfaction 
be  immediately  made  by  the  delivery  of  the  animals  in  question,  the 
complaint  will  be  forwarded  to  the  Governor.  I  would  beg  you  at 
the  same  time  to  give  to  his  Excellency  a  copy  of  this  note.  I  am, 
very  respectfully,  Your  obedient  servant,^ 

J,  C.  Fremont 
U.S.  Army 

Printed  in  cal.  his.  soc.  docs.,  4:374.  Jose  Dolores  Pacheco  (d.  1852)  was 
alcalde  and  justice  of  the  peace  at  San  Jose  in  1846. 

1.  Not  found. 

2.  Besides  the  theft  of  a  mule  or  a  horse,  three  of  JCF's  men  were  accused 
of,  when  under  the  influence  of  liquor,  offering  insults  to  the  family  of  Angel 
Castro,  uncle  of  Gen.  Jose  Castro  (Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  duplicate 
copy,  27  March  1846,  DNA-59,  Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 
While  JCF  made  amends  immediately,  the  event  undoubtedly  focused  atten- 
tion on  him  and  his  men.  Patriotic  Californians,  who  had  heard  rumors  that 
1846  was  to  bring  "great  changes  over  the  face  of  California"  and  who  saw 
John  Marsh  and  other  native-born  Americans  visiting  the  camp  of  the  ex- 
plorer, became  suspicious  of  JCF's  real  motives  in  traveling  and  camping 
within  the  vicinity  of  Monterey,  sometimes  within  eight  miles  of  the  town. 

8.   Excerpt  from  the  Memoirs 

[22  Feb.-3  March  18461 

Resuming  the  work  of  the  expedition,  on  the  22d  March  [Feb.] 
we  encamped  on  the  Wild-Cat  Ridge  on  the  road  to  Santa  Cruz, 
and  again  on  the  23d  near  the  summit.  The  varied  character  of  the 
woods  and  shrubbery  on  this  mountain,  which  lay  between  my 
camp  and  the  Santa  Cruz  shore,  was  very  interesting  to  me,  and  I 
wished  to  spend  some  days  there,  as  now  the  spring  season  was  re- 
newing vegetation,  and  the  accounts  of  the  great  trees  in  the  forest 
on  the  west  slope  of  the  mountains  had  roused  my  curiosity.  Always, 
too,  I  had  before  my  mind  the  home  I  wished  to  make  in  the  coun- 
try, and  first  one  place  and  then  another  charmed  me.  But  none 
seemed  perfect  where  the  sea  was  wanting,  and  so  far  I  had  not 


stood  by  the  open  waves  of  the  Pacific.  The  soft  climate  of  the  San 
Jose  valley  was  very  enticing,  and  in  the  interior  I  had  seen  lovely 
spots  in  the  midst  of  the  great  pines  where  the  mountains  looked 
down,  but  the  sea  was  lacking.  The  piny  fragrance  was  grateful, 
but  it  was  not  the  invigorating  salt  breeze  which  brings  with  it 
renewed  strength.  This  I  wanted  for  my  mother.  For  me,  the  shore 
of  "the  sounding  sea"  was  a  pleasure  of  which  I  never  wearied,  and 
I  knew  that  along  this  coast  the  sea  broke  deep  against  bold  rocks 
or  shining  sands.  All  this  I  had  reason  to  believe  I  would  find  some- 
where on  the  Santa  Cruz  shore.  We  remained  on  the  upper  portion 
of  the  mountain  several  days.  The  place  of  our  encampment  was 
two  thousand  feet  above  the  sea,  and  was  covered  with  a  luxuriant 
growth  of  grass  a  foot  high  in  many  places. 

At  sunrise  the  temperature  was  40°;  at  noon,  60°;  at  four  in 
the  afternoon,  65°,  and  63°  at  sunset,  with  very  pleasant  weather. 
The  mountains  were  wooded  with  many  varieties  of  trees,  and  in 
some  parts  with  heavy  forests.  These  forests  are  characterized  by  a 
cypress  {taxodium)  of  extraordinary  dimensions,  which  I  have  al- 
ready mentioned  among  the  trees  in  the  Sierra  Nevada  as  distin- 
guished among  the  forest  trees  of  America  by  its  superior  size  and 
height.  Among  many  we  measured  in  this  part  of  the  mountain  a 
diameter  of  nine  or  ten  feet  was  frequent,  sometimes  eleven;  but 
going  beyond  eleven  onlv  in  a  single  tree,  which  reached  fourteen 
feet  in  diameter.  Above  two  hundred  feet  was  a  frequent  height. 
In  this  locality  the  bark  was  verv  deeply  furrowed  and  unusually 
thick,  being  fully  sixteen  inches  on  some  of  the  trees.  It  was  now  in 
bloom,  flowering  near  the  summit,  and  the  flowers  consequently 
difficult  to  procure. 

This  is  the  staple  timber-tree  of  the  country,  being  cut  into  both 
boards  and  shingles,  and  is  the  principal  timber  sawed  at  the  mills. 
It  is  soft  and  easily  worked,  wearing  away  too  quickly  to  be  used 
for  floor;  but  it  seems  to  have  all  the  durability  which  anciently 
gave  the  cypress  so  much  celebrity.  Posts  which  had  been  exposed 
to  the  weather  three-quarters  of  a  century,  since  the  foundation  of 
the  Missions,  showed  no  marks  of  decay  in  the  wood  and  are  now 
converted  into  beams  and  posts  for  private  dwellings.  In  California 
this  tree  is  called  the  Palo  Colorado,  Redwood. 

Among  the  oaks  in  this  mountain  is  a  handsome,  lofty  evergreen 
tree,  specifically  different  from  those  of  the  lower  grounds,  and 
in  its  general  appearance  much  resembling  hickory.  The  bark  is 


smooth,  of  a  white  color,  and  the  wood  hard  and  close-grained.  It 
seems  to  prefer  the  north  hillsides,  where  some  were  nearly  four 
feet  in  diameter  and  a  hundred  feet  high. 

Another  remarkable  tree  of  these  woods  is  called  in  the  language 
of  the  country  Madrona.  It  is  a  beautiful  evergreen  with  large,  thick, 
and  glossy  digitated  leaves;  the  trunk  and  branches  reddish  colored 
and  having  a  smooth  and  singularly  naked  appearance,  as  if  the 
bark  had  been  stripped  off.  In  its  green  state  the  wood  is  brittle, 
very  heavy,  hard,  and  close  grained;  it  is  said  to  assume  a  red  color 
when  dry,  sometimes  variegated,  and  susceptible  of  a  high  polish. 
This  tree  was  found  by  us  only  in  the  mountains.  Some  measured 
nearly  four  feet  in  diameter  and  were  about  sixty  feet  high. 

A  few  scattered  flowers  were  now  showing  throughout  the  forests, 
and  on  the  open  ridges  shrubs  were  flowering;  but  the  bloom  was 
not  yet  general.  On  the  25th  of  February  we  descended  to  the  coast 
near  the  northwestern  point  of  Monterey  Bay,  losing  our  fine  weather, 
which  in  the  evening  changed  to  a  cold  southeasterly  storm  that 
continued  with  heavy  and  constant  rains  for  several  days. 

The  rain-storms  closed  with  February,  and  the  weather  becoming 
fine,  on  the  1st  of  March  we  resumed  our  progress  along  the  coast. 
Over  the  face  of  the  country  between  Santa  Cruz  and  Monterey,  and 
around  the  plains  of  San  Juan,  the  grass,  which  had  been  eaten 
down  by  the  large  herds  of  cattle,  was  now  everywhere  springing 
up  and  flowers  began  to  show  their  bloom.  In  the  valleys  of  the 
mountains  bordering  the  Salinas  plains  wild  oats  were  three  feet 
high  and  well  headed.  The  Salinas  River  runs  through  these  plains, 
which  are  some  fifty  miles  in  length. 

Pursuing  our  course  to  the  southward  I  encamped  on  the  after- 
noon of  March  3d  at  the  Hartnell  rancho,^  which  is  on  a  small 
creek-bed  well  out  on  the  plain.  We  were  now  passing  Monterey, 
which  was  about  twenty-five  miles  distant. 

The  Salinas  valley  lay  outside  of  the  more  occupied  parts  of  the 
country;  and  I  was  on  my  way  to  a  pass,  opening  into  the  San 
Joaquin  valley,  at  the  head  of  a  western  branch  of  the  Salinas  River. 

MEMOIRS,  456-58. 

1.  William  E.  P.  Hartnell  (1798-1854),  an  Englishman  who  had  been  en- 
gaged in  trade  in  California  as  early  as  1822,  was  the  owner  of  the  Rancho 
Alisal  or  Patrocinio.  He  was  administrator  of  the  Mexican  customs  house  at 
Monterey,  and  he  was  to  render  valuable  service  to  both  Mexicans  and 
Americans  as  an  interpreter  and  translator.  For  an  appreciation  of  Hartnell's 
varied  career,  see  dakin. 


9.  Fremont  to  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin 

In  Camp,  March  5th  1846 
My  dear  Sir 

It  would  have  afforded  me  pleasure  to  thank  you  personally  for 
the  kindness  of  your  late  letters/  but  I  am  unwilling  to  leave  my 
party  and  the  presence  of  my  little  force  might  be  disagreeable  to 
the  authorities  in  Monterey. 

I  therefore  practise  the  self  denial  which  is  a  constant  virtue  here 
and  forego  the  pleasure  I  should  have  found  in  seeing  some  little  of 
society  in  your  capital.  Having  seen  nothing,  what  shall  I  say  now  to 
those  who  ask  me  of  Hastings'  accounts  ?' 

The  bearer  is  one  of  my  trustworthy  men'"*  and  I  send  him  to  you 
for  any  intelligence  you  may  have  received  from  the  States,  and  beg 
you  to  give  him  the  newspapers  you  spoke  of  in  your  last.  As  you 
may  judge,  your  letter  woke  up  some  strong  memories  and  since 
then  my  occupations  here  have  lost  something  of  their  usual  inter- 
est. But  I  shall  soon  be  laboriously  employed;  the  spring  promises 
to  be  a  glorious  one,  and  a  month  or  two  will  pass  quickly  and  use- 
fully among  the  flowers  while  we  are  waiting  on  the  season  for  our 
operations  in  the  north. 

This  evening  I  encamp  on  the  Monterey  river,  where  I  will  ex- 
pect the  return  of  my  messenger  tomorrow  afternoon.  If  Mr.  Hart- 
nail  [Hartnell]  could  conveniendy  find  the  astronomical  positions 
of  Mr.  Douglas^  which  he  mentioned,  they  would  be  of  use  to  me 
now  in  my  journey  southward. 

I  need  hardly  say  that  it  will  afford  me  pleasure  to  be  of  any 
service  to  you  at  home  and  I  shall  always  be  glad  to  hear  from  you. 
Can  you  tell  me  at  about  what  time  the  letters  I  left  with  you  will 
reach  Washington?  In  May  perhaps?  Please  offer  my  regards  to 
Mrs.  Larkin;  I  must  certainly  endeavor  to  see  you  again  before 
leaving  the  country,  and  in  the  mean  time  am,  Yours  truly, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Thomas  O.  Larkin  Esqre 
Consul  for  the  United  States  at  Monterey 

Printed  in  larkin,  4:227-28. 

1.  Larkin's  letters  have  not  been  found. 

2.  A  reference  to  Lansford  W.  Hastings's  promotional  lectures  and  literature 


on  California,   particularly   to   The  Emigrarits'   Guide  to   Oregon   and  Cali- 
fornia (Cincinnati,  1845).  See  Doc.  No.  3,  n.  11. 

3.  Alexander  Godey,  according  to  William  D.  Phelps,  master  of  the  bark 
Moscow,  who  claimed  to  be  present  when  the  messenger  arrived  at  the  con- 
sulate (PHELPS,  279). 

4.  David  Douglas  (1799-1834),  Scottish  botanical  explorer,  had  collected  in 
the  Pacific  Northwest  and  California  before  he  met  a  tragic  death  in  the 
Hawaiian  Islands. 

10.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  to  Fremont 

Monterey,  March  5th,  1846 


I  have  just  received  two  letters  from  the  Commandant  General  of 
California,  and  the  Prefecto  of  this  District,  who  inform  me  they 
have  sent  you  official  letters,^  enclosing  me  the  copies.  The  following 
is  a  translation,  which  with  my  answer  I  will  send  to  you  in  En- 
glish." I  remain,  Dear  Sir,  Yours  sincerely, 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 

To  Captain  J.  C.  Fremont,  U.S.  Army 

Printed  in  larkin,  4:228. 

1.  The  original  letters  of  Gen.  Jose  Castro  and  prefect  Manuel  de  Jesus 
Castro  have  not  been  found,  but  Larkin  sent  translations  of  his  copies  to  the 
Secretary  of  State,  James  Buchanan  (see  our  Doc.  Nos.  11  and  12). 

2.  See  Larkin  to  Jose  Castro  and  Manuel  de  Jesus  Castro,  6  March  1846, 
Doc.  No.  13. 

11.  Jose  Castro  to  Fremont 

Commandant  General  of  Upper  California 

[5  March  1846] 

With  this  date  I  say  to  Captain  J.  C.  Fremont  the  following: 
At  seven  o'clock  this  morning  the  Commandant  General  was 
given  to  understand  that  you  and  the  party  under  your  command 
have  entered  the  towns  of  this  Department,  and  such  being  pro- 
hibited by  our  laws  I  find  myself  obligated  to  advertise  you  that  on 


the  receipt  of  this  you  will  immediately  retire  beyond  the  limits  of 
this  same  Department  such  being  the  orders  of  the  supreme  Govern- 
ment and  the  subscriber  is  obligated  to  see  them  complied  with. 

And  the  undersigned  has  the  honor  of  transcribing  the  same  to 
the  Consul  of  the  United  States  of  America  for  its  knowledge  of 
the  same.  God  &  Liberty.  Monterey  March  5th  1846. 

(Signed)  Jose  Castro 
Mr.  Thomas  Larkin 
Consul  of  the  U.S.  America  In  this  Port 

Translated  copy  enclosed  in  Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  5  March  1846, 
no.  36  (DNA-59,  Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 

12.  Manuel  de  Jesus  Castro  to  Fremont 

Prefect  of  the  Second  District 
Monterey  March  6th  [5th]  1846 
Captain  J  C  Fremont 

"I  have  learnt  with  surprise  that  you  against  the  laws  of  the  au- 
thorities of  Mexico  have  introduced  yourself  into  the  towns  of  this 
Departmental  district  under  my  charge  with  an  armed  force  under 
a  commission  which  must  have  been  given  you  by  your  government 
only  to  survey  its  own  proper  lands. 

In  consequence  this  Prefectura  now  orders  that  you  will  imme- 
diately on  receipt  of  this  without  any  pretext  return  with  your  people 
out  of  the  limits  of  this  territory.  If  not  this  office  will  take  the 
necessary  measures  to  cause  respect  to  this  determination." 

I  have  the  honor  to  transcribe  this  to  you  for  your  intelligence 
that  you  may  act  in  the  case  as  belongs  to  your  office  and  that  he 
mav  comply  with  the  expressed  order.  God  &  Liberty.  Monterey 
March  5th  1846. 

(Signed)  Manuel  Castro 

Mr.  Thomas  O  Larkin 
Consul  of  the  U.S.  of  America 

Translated  copy  enclosed  in  Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  5  March  1846,  no. 
36  (DNA-59,  Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 


13.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  to  Jose  Castro 
and  Manuel  de  Jesus  Castro 

Consulate  of  the  United  States 
Monterey  March  6th  1846 

The  undersigned  Consul  of  the  United  States  has  the  honour  to 
acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  official  note  of  yesterday  containing 
a  copy  of  your  letter  and  orders  to  Capt  J  C  Fremont,  U.  S.  Army 
(now  encamped  near  the  Salinas  River)  with  his  men,  to  leave  this 
country  immediately. 

The  undersigned  understood  that  your  letter  was  yesterday  carried 
to  Captain  Fremont,  by  an  officer  having  some  eight  or  ten  men 
under  his  charge  and  that  at  this  moment  there  is  a  large  number 
of  armed  men  collecting  in  this  town  for  the  purpose  of  going  to 
the  camp  of  that  American  officer.  He  would  therefore  take  the 
Liberty  of  saying  that  although  he  is  well  aware  that  you,  as  a  Mexi- 
can officer  and  a  patriot,  are  bound  to  take  every  step  that  may  re- 
dound to  the  integrity  and  interest  of  your  country,  he  would 
further  observe  that  his  countrymen  must  not  be  unjustly  or  unne- 
sesarily  harrased  from  causes  that  may  arise  from  false  reports,  or 
false  appearances,  and  would  recommend,  that  if  any  party  are 
going  to  the  Camp  of  Captain  Fremont  that  it  may  be  commanded 
by  a  trustworthy  &  experienced  officer,  which  may  prevent  affairs 
on  the  meeting  of  the  two  parties  from  being  brought  to  some  un- 
happy conclusion.  The  undersigned  has  the  honor  to  subscribe  him- 
self as  your  most  obedt.  [servant], 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 

To  Don  Jose  Castro,  Commandant  General  of  Upper  California 
&  Sr.  Don  Manuel  Castro,  Prefecto  of  the  2d  District 

Copy  enclosed  In  Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  9  March  1846,  no.  37 
(DNA-59,  Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 


14.  Manuel  de  Jesus  Castro  to 
Thomas  Oliver  Larkin 

Prefecture  of  the  Second  District 
[8  March  1846] 

The  undersigned  Prefect  of  this  District  has  received  the  note  of 
the  consul  of  the  U.S.  Mr.  Thomas  O  Larkin  dated  6  Inst,  and  in 
answer  thereto  has  the  honour  to  say  that  far  from  replying  in  it 
that  he  will  order  the  captain  of  the  U.S.  army  Mr  J  C  Fremont  to 
leave  immediately  with  his  force  of  Armed  Troops  (according  to 
the  acceptation  of  the  word  camp  which  he  uses  in  his  communica- 
tion) the  limits  of  this  Department  transgressing  the  principles 
established  amongst  civilized  nations  he  defends  his  unjust  intro- 
duction. The  undersigned  when  he  ordered  Capt  Fremont  to  march 
back  founded  himself  on  repeted  orders  &  decrees  from  the  Supreme 
Government  of  the  Mexican  Republic  which  prohibits  the  intro- 
duction not  only  of  troops  belonging  to  any  power  but  even  that  of 
Foreigners  who  do  not  come  provided  with  legal  Passports  and  not 
on  False  Reports  and  False  appearances  as  the  Consul  of  the  U.S. 
says  in  his  said  note.  The  undersigned  promises  the  Consul  of  the 
United  States  that  as  far  as  lays  in  his  power  Those  persons  who  are 
subject  to  the  laws  of  the  country  and  may  harrass  the  subjects  of 
his  nation  who  are  under  the  protection  of  said  laws  shall  be  pun- 
ished according  to  the  same,  after  the  necessary  proofiFs  shall  be  given, 
and  the  customary  formalities  gone  through.  The  undersigned 
makes  known  to  the  Consul  of  the  U.S.  that  if  he  desires  to  avoid 
that  the  force  of  Capt.  Fremont  may  come  to  an  unfortunate  end 
meeting  with  the  force  of  the  Department,  he  ought  to  inform  said 
Captain  Fremont  that  since  he  entred  this  Department  with  an 
armed  force  wether  through  malice  [or]  error,  he  must  now  either 
blindly  obey  the  authorities  or  on  the  contrary  experience  the  mis- 
fortunes which  he  has  sought  by  his  crime.  The  Undersigned  sub- 
scribes &c  &c  God  &  Liberty,  Monterey  March  8th  1846. 

(Signed)  Manuel  Castro 
Consul  of  the  U.  S.  of  North  America  Mr.  Thomas  O  Larkin 

Translated  copy  enclosed  in  Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  9  March  1846,  no. 
37  (DNA-59,  Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 


15.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  to  Fremont 

Consulate  of  the  United  States 
Monterey,  California,  March  8th,  1846 

With  this  you  have  my  Consular  answer^  to  the  General  &  Pre- 
fecto's  letter  to  you  of  last  week,  of  which  I  had  the  honour  to  re- 
ceive copies  from  them.  I  also  add  the  Senor  Prefecto's  second  letter" 
to  me  of  this  day.  By  your  Messenger  of  last  week,  I  forwarded 
some  U.  S.  Newspapers,  a  Spanish  Grammar,  some  Magazines,  and 
English  copies  of  the  General  and  Prefecto's  letters  to  you  on  the 
5th  Inst.  I  then  informed  you  that  there  was  an  American  Brig 
(Brig  Hannah,  of  Salem)  at  anchor  in  this  port,  bound  to  Mazatlan, 
whose  Supercargo^  I  had  requested  to  remain  here  untill  the  third 
day  to  enable  you  to  send  letters  to  the  United  States  if  you  were  so 
inclined.  I  cannot  tell  whether  my  letter^  reached  you,  but  heard 
of  your  man  being  almost  at  your  Camp  day  before  yesterday.  I  have 
now  to  inform  you  (and  my  information  is  derived  from  the  cur- 
rent reports  of  the  day)  that  General  Castro  was  on  the  plain  last 
night  with  about  sixty  people.  Many  more  from  the  Ranchos  joined 
him  today.  At  this  moment  some  forty  men  are  preparing  to  leave 
Monterey  to  join  the  party.  I  should  think  tomorrow  he  might  have 
two  hundred  men  or  perhaps  more.  Many  of  the  common  people 
will  join  through  choice,  others  by  being  so  ordered  by  the  General. 
Among  the  other  class,  there  are  some  looking  on  the  afifair  with 
indifference,  some  perhaps  with  favor  to  either  side  as  their  friend- 
ship to  the  present  authorities  or  their  own  interest  may  govern 
them.  Respecting  the  result  there  are  various  opinions. 

It  is  not  for  me  to  point  out  to  you  your  line  of  conduct.  You  have 
your  Government  Instructions.  My  knowledge  of  your  character 
obliges  me  to  believe  you  will  follow  them.  Nor  can  I  offer  any 
advice  not  knowing  those  instructions.  Should  you  have  no  orders 
to  enter  this  country  the  authorities  are  by  their  own  laws  correct 
in  saying  you  can  not  remain  with  a  company  of  armed  men.  You 
of  course  are  taking  every  care  and  safe  guard  to  protect  your  men, 
but  not  knowing  your  situation,  and  the  people  who  surround  you, 
your  care  may  prove  insufficient.  You  are  officially  ordered  to  leave 
the  Country;  I  am  shure  you  will  use  your  own  discretion  on  the 
subject.  Your  danger  may  remain  in  supposing  that  no  uncommon 


means  will  be  taken  for  your  expulsion.  Although  the  expressions 
of  the  common  people  under  the  passions  of  the  moment,  breathe 
vengeance  in  every  form  against  you,  I  cannot  conclude  that  so 
much  w^ill  be  put  in  force,  should  they  succeed  in  overpowering  you. 
I  therefore  only  wish  you  to  suppose  yourself  in  a  situation  where 
you  must  take  every  measure  to  prevent  a  supprise,  from  those  you 
may  consider  partially  friends.  Should  my  ideas  be  correct,  the  act 
perhaps  will  originate,  not  from  the  heads,  or  the  respectability  of 
the  Country,  but  from  those  of  a  more  head-strong  class,  who  having 
fought  so  many  (called)  battles,  may  considered  themselves  invenci- 

Your  encamping  so  near  Town  has  caused  much  excitement. 
The  Natives  are  firm  in  the  belief  that  they  will  break  you  up,  and 
that  you  can  be  entirely  destroyed  by  their  power;  in  all  probility 
they  will  attack  you.  The  result  either  way  may  cause  trouble  here- 
after to  Resident  Americans.  I  myself  have  no  fear  on  the  subject, 
yet  believe  the  present  state  of  affairs  may  cause  an  interruption  in 
business.  Should  it  be  impossible  or  inconvenient  for  you  to  leave 
California  at  present,  I  think  on  a  proper  representation  to  the  Gen- 
eral and  Prefecto,  an  arraingment  could  be  made  for  your  Camp 
to  be  continued,  but  at  some  greater  distance;  which  arraingment 
I  would  advise,  if  you  can  offer  it.  I  never  make  to  this  Government 
an  unreasonable  request,  therefore  never  expect  denial,  and  have  for 
many  years  found  them  well  disposed  towards  me.  You  cannot 
well  leave  your  people.  Should  you  wish  to  see  me,  I  will  immedi- 
ately visit  your  Camp.  Please  answer  directly  by  the  Bearer.  I  am 
Yours  Truly,  in  haste, 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 
Captain  J,  C.  Fremont 
U.  S.  Army.  Alisal 
24  miles  from  Monterey 

Copy   enclosed   in   Larkin    to   Secretary   of   State,   9   March    1846,    no.    37 
(DNA-59,  Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 

1.  See  Larkin  to  Jose  Castro  and  Manuel  de  Jesus  Castro,  6  March   1846, 
Doc.  No.  13. 

2.  See  Manuel  de  Jesiis  Castro  to  Larkin  [8  March  1846|,  Doc.  No.  14. 

3.  Gregorio  Ajuria  was  supercargo  of  the  Hannah. 

4.  This  letter  not  found. 


16.  Memorandum  of  Directions  to  Courier 

Consulate  of  the  U.S.  of  N.  America 
Monterey  8th  March  [1846] 

You  will  proceed  as  quick  as  possible,  by  all  means  to  Capt  Fre- 
mont tomorrow.  You  will  show  your  passport  and  the  letter  to  any 
person  who  as  an  officer  may  demand  to  see  them.  Should  you  by 
force  have  to  deliver  up  my  letter,  do  so  but  endeavour  to  know 
the  person  who  takes  it.  Should  the  letter  be  taken  from  you,  en- 
deavour to  see  Capt.  Fremont  and  tell  him  I  sent  you  with  the  letter 
and  who  took  it  from  you.  You  will  tell  him  to  guard  himself  against 
acts  of  treachery  at  night,  and  not  to  place  any  faith  in  having  a 
regular  warfare,  should  there  be  any  regular  fighting,  and  by  no 
means  depend  on  the  natives. 

Note.  One  copy  given  to  a  native  and  another  to  a  foreigner,^  the 
latter  being  two  days  on  the  road,  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  General 
and  gave  him  the  letters  on  the  latter  promising  to  forward  as 
directed.  On  the  second  day  Capt.  Fremont  had  left.  General  Castro, 
twenty  days  afterward  informed  me  that  he  had  forwarded  the 
letters  the  man  gave  him  to  Capt  Fremont,  when  he  had  actualy 
sent  them  to  Mexico,  where  they  were  published.  He  at  the  same 
time  informed  his  Government  that  Capt.  Fremont  was  driven  away 
and  that  in  May  all  other  Americans  would  be. 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 

Copy  8  in  Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  20  July  1846,  no.  54  (DNA-59, 
Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 

1.  The  "foreigner"  to  whom  Larkin  entrusted  a  copy  of  the  letter  of  8 
March  was  one  of  JCF's  own  men,  Joseph  Stepp  of  Quincy,  111.,  who  had 
been  with  him  since  the  start  of  the  expedition  in  May  1845  as  a  hunter 
and  gunsmith  (Larkin  to  Fremont,  31  May  1846,  Doc.  No.  30).  brandon, 
79,  and  hafen  &  hafen,  24,  believe  Stepp's  correct  name  to  be  Stepperfeldt, 
but  the  voucher  carries  the  shorter  version,  which  was  at  least  his  preference. 
The  "native"  returned  to  the  American  Consulate  in  nine  or  ten  hours, 
bringing  a  letter  from  JCF  (our  Doc.  No.  18).  The  total  distance  traveled  was 
about  sixty  miles  (Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  27  March  1846,  larkin, 


17.   Jose  Castro's  Proclamation 

[8  March  1846] 

The  Citizen  Jose  Castro  Lieut  Col.  of  the  Mexican  army  and  com- 
mander in  chief  of  the  Department  of  Cal. 

Fellow  citizens:  A  band  of  robbers  commanded  by  a  Capt.  of  the 
U.S.  Army,  J.  C.  Fremont,  have,  without  respect  to  the  laws  &  author- 
ities of  the  Department  daringly  introduced  themselves  into  the 
country  and  disobeyed  the  orders  both  of  your  Commander  in  Chief 
&  of  the  Prefect  of  the  district,  by  which  he  was  required  to  march, 
forthwith,  out  of  the  limits  of  our  Territory:  &  without  answering 
their  letters  he  remains  encamped  at  the  farm  "Natividad"  from 
which  he  sallies  forth,  committing  depredations,  and  making  scan- 
dalous skirmishes. 

In  the  name  of  our  native  country  I  invite  you  to  place  yourselves 
under  my  immediate  orders  at  headquarters,  where  we  will  prepare 
to  lance  the  ulcer  which  (should  it  not  be  done)  would  destroy 
our  liberties  &  independence  for  which  you  ought  always  to  sacrifice 
yourselves,  as  will  your  friend  &  fellow  citizen. 

Head  quarters  at  "San  Juan" 
(Signed)  Jose  Castro 
8  March  1846 

Edward  M.  Kern's  copy  (CSmH). 

18.   Fremont  to  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin 

9  March  1846] 

My  Dear  Sir 

I  this  moment  received  your  letters  and  without  waiting  to  read 
them  acknowledge  the  receipt  which  the  Courier  requires  instantly. 
I  am  making  myself  as  strong  as  possible  in  the  intention  that  if 
we  are  unjustly  attacked  we  will  fight  to  extremity  and  refuse  quar- 
ter, trusting  to  our  country  to  avenge  our  death.  No  one  has  reached 


my  camp  and  from  the  heights  we  are  able  to  see  troops  (with  the 
glass)  mustering  at  St.  Johns  and  preparing  cannon.  I  thank  you  for 
your  kindness  and  good  wishes  and  would  write  more  at  length  as 
to  my  intentions,  did  I  not  fear  that  my  letter  will  be  intercepted; 
we  have  in  no  wise  done  wrong  to  the  people  or  the  authorities  of 
the  country,  and  if  we  are  hemmed  in  and  assaulted,  we  will  die 
every  man  of  us,  under  the  Flag  of  our  country.  Very  truly  yours, 

(Signed)  J.  C.  Fremont 

P.S.  I  am  encamped  on  the  top  of  the  Sierra  at  the  head  water  of 
stream  which  strikes  the  road  to  Monterey,  at  the  house  of  D.  Joa- 
quin Gomez. 

J.  C.  F. 

Consulate  of  the  United  States 
Monterey,  March  10,  1846 

This  letter  wrote  in  haste  by  Captain  Fremont  with  his  pencil,  I 
received  last  night  at  8  o'clock.  I  permit  the  translation  at  the  re- 
quest of  D.  Manuel  Diaz,  Alcalde  of  Monterey  (he  having  given 
yesterday  a  passport  to  my  Courier  to  go  to  the  Camp  and  return 
to  me)  with  the  hopes  of  its  allaying  the  present  sensation,  bringing 
affairs  to  a  better  understanding,  and  that  the  authorities  may  not 
suppose  I  have  any  improper  correspondence  with  Captain  Fremont. 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 

Copy  (DNA-45,  Area  9  File,  Pacific).  Also  copy  10  in  Larkin  to  Secretary 
of  State,  20  July  1846  (DNA-59,  Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 
Larkin's  note  was  added  to  the  letter  when  he  permitted  a  Spanish  transla- 
tion to  be  taken  by  William  Hartnell  for  Manuel  Diaz.  He  later  became  upset 
because  Hartnell  had  translated  "refuse  quarter"  into  "I  will  not  give 
quarter,"  thus  making  JCF's  statement  the  very  reverse  of  what  he  intended. 
So  Larkin  wrote  Abel  Stearns  in  Los  Angeles,  asking  him  to  see  if  the 
governor's  copy  (forwarded  by  Diaz)  was  actually  in  Hartnell's  writing  and 
also  to  try  to  exchange  it  for  the  true  copy.  He  added  a  curious  note:  "From 
Captain  Fremont's  visit,  I  am  under  the  idea  that  great  plans  are  meditated 
to  be  carried  out  by  certain  persons"  (Larkin  to  Stearns,  19  March  1846,  no. 
17,  in  Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  20  July  1846.  no.  54,  DNA-59,  Consular 
Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 


19.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  to  Fremont 

Consulate  of  the  United  States 
Monterey,  Califa.,  March  10th  1846 

Your  letter  of  yesterday  I  received  last  night  at  eight  o'clock. 
Thank  you  for  the  same.  It  took  from  me  a  weight  of  uneasiness 
respecting  your  situation.  The  Alcalde  of  Monterey  has  requested 
from  me  a  copy  in  Spanish  of  your  letter.  Not  knowing  what  you 
might  approve  of  in  the  case,  I  had  some  objection.  On  second 
thoughts  I  considered  that  the  Alcalde  having  given  the  Courier  a 
passport  (without  which  he  would  not  go)  carrying  of  the  letters 
both  ways  were  made  public,  and  people  might  put  a  wrong  con- 
struction on  our  correspondence.  I  gave  it  to  him  with  the  following 

I  also  considered  the  letter  contained  nothing  of  importance  to 
keep  secret,  and  now  annex  my  letter  of  this  morning  to  the  Al- 
calde." As  you  may  not  have  a  copy  of  your  letter,  I  send  one.  My 
Native  Courier  said  he  was  well  treated  by  you,  that  two  thousand 
men  could  not  drive  you.  In  all  cases  of  Couriers,  order  your  men  to 
have  no  hints  or  words  with  them,  as  it  is  magnified.  This  one  said 
a  man  pointed  to  a  tree,  and  said  there's  your  life.  He  expected  to 
be  led  to  you,  blindfolded,  says  you  have  sixty  two  men  well  armed, 
&c.  &c. 

You  will  without  thought  of  expence  or  trouble,  call  on  me,  or 
send  to  me,  in  every  case  or  need,  not  only  as  your  Consul,  but  your 
friend  and  Countryman.  I  am  Yours  truly, 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 
To  Capt.  J.  C.  Fremont  at  his  camp 
U.S.  Army 

Copy  13  in  Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  20  July  1846,  no.  54  (DNA-59, 
Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 

1.  See  Fremont  to  Larkin,  [9  March  1846  |,  Doc.  No.  18. 

2.  See  Larkin  to  Diaz,  10  March  1846,  Doc.  No.  20. 


20.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  to  Manuel  Diaz 

Consulate  of  the  U.  S. 
Monterey,  March  10th,  1846 

I  am  not  confident  that  Capt.  Fremont  may  approve  of  my  giving 
you  a  translation  of  his  hasty  wrote  letter.  As  you  allow  the  Courier 
to  travel  to  the  camp  and  return,  and  hoping  this  letter  may  on 
being  known,  bring  affairs  to  some  better  understanding,  I  send 
you  the  translation  you  request.^ 

It  may  be  that  the  authorities  of  this  Department  expect  something 
from  me  as  U.  S.  Consul  under  the  present  state  of  affairs;  yet  I  know 
nothing  that  I  can  do.  I  have  verbally  offered  my  services  whenever 
required,  and  now  do  the  same  in  writing.  Capt.  Fremont  has  his 
own  instructions,  and  has  not  to  be  ordered  by  this  Consulate,  yet  I 
would  with  pleasure  allay  the  present  sensation  if  in  my  power. 

I  can  only  add  that  I  would  respectfully  advise  that  you  would  in 
your  letter  to  the  General  today,  say  that  I  would  take  the  liberty 
to  propose  that  he  should  send  a  letter  to  Capt.  Fremont  requesting 
one  hour's  conversation  before  any  extreme  measures  are  taken,  as 
I  am  of  the  firm  opinion,  should  that  officer  be  attacked,  much  blood- 
shed would  ensue,  that  may  cause  not  only  loss  of  life  to  many  of 
the  present  parties,  but  cause  hereafter  much  expence,  trouble,  and 
perhaps  farther  loss  of  life  to  many  of  our  respective  nations,  and 
I  am  satisfied  that  no  present  or  future  advantage  will  be  obtained 
by  the  country  from  the  circumstances  as  they  now  appear.  I  have 
reason  to  believe  that  Capt.  Fremont  only  waits  a  few  days  to  rest 
his  horses  (having  purchased  his  provisions)  and  intends  to  remove 
immediately  from  California,  yet  it  may  be  impossible  for  him  to  do 
so,  while  surrounded  by  people  with  hostile  intentions  towards  him. 
Will  you  please  send  a  copy  of  this  letter  to  the  Commandant  Gen- 
eral D.  Jose  Castro.  I  have  the  honour  to  remain  Yours  respectfully, 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 
To  Don  Manuel  Diaz    Monterey 
1st  Alcalde 

Copy  15  in  Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  20  July  1846,  no.  54  (DNA-59, 
Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 

1.  Larkin  sent  a  Spanish  translation  of  the  9  March  1846  letter  of  JCF, 
our  Doc.  No.  18. 


21.   Jose  Castro's  Proclamation 

[13  March  1846] 

Fellow-citizens — a  party  of  highwaymen  who,  without  respecting 
the  laws  or  authorities  of  the  department,  boldly  entered  the  country 
under  the  leadership  of  Don  J.  C.  Fremont,  captain  in  the  U.S.  army, 
having  disobeyed  the  orders  of  this  comandancia  general  and  of 
the  prefecture  of  the  2d  district,  by  which  said  leader  was  notified 
immediately  to  march  beyond  the  bounds  of  our  territory;  and  with- 
out replying  to  the  said  notes  in  writing,  the  said  captain  merely 
sent  a  verbal  message  that  on  the  Sierra  del  Gavilan  he  was  prepared 
to  resist  the  forces  which  the  authorities  might  send  to  attack  him. 
The  following  measures  of  this  command  and  of  the  prefecture, 
putting  in  action  all  possible  elements,  produced  as  a  result  that  he 
at  the  sight  of  200  patriots  abandoned  the  camp  which  he  occupied, 
leaving  in  it  some  clothing  and  other  war  material,  and  according 
to  the  scouts  took  the  route  to  the  Tulares.  Compatriots,  the  act  or 
unfurling  the  American  flag  on  the  hills,  the  insults  and  threats 
offered  to  the  authorities,  are  worthy  of  execration  and  hatred  from 
Mexicans;  prepare,  then,  to  defend  our  independence  in  order  that 
united  we  may  repel  with  a  strong  hand  the  audacity  of  men  who, 
receiving  every  mark  of  true  hospitality  in  our  country,  repay  with 
such  ingratitude  the  favors  obtained  from  our  cordiality  and  benevo- 

Headquarters  at  San  Juan  Bautista,  March  13,  1846. 

Printed  translation  in  Bancroft,  5:19.  Castro's  claim  to  have  driven  out 
JCF  and  the  American  cowards  was  posted  in  the  Billiard  Room  in  Monterey 
(Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  27  March  1846,  no.  38,  DNA-59,  Consular 
Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.). 

22.   Excerpt  from  the  Memoirs 

[9  March-24  May  1846] 

Descending  the  southeastern  side  of  the  ridge  we  halted  for  the 
night  [9-10  March]  on  a  stream  about  three  miles  from  the  camp  of 


General  Castro,  a  few  miles  from  our  fort/  The  next  day  we  re- 
sumed our  route,  and  emerging  into  the  valley  of  the  San  Joaquin 
on  the  11th  we  found  almost  a  summer  temperature  and  the  country 
clothed  in  the  floral  beauty  of  spring.  Travelling  by  short  stages  we 
reached  the  Towalumne  River  on  the  evening  of  the  14th.  By  obser- 
vation, m  latitude  37°  25'  53",  and  longitude  120°  35'  55''. 

On  the  21st  we  entered  the  Sacramento  valley,  and  on  the  22d 
encamped  at  a  favorite  spot  opposite  the  house  of  Mr.  Grimes."  As 
already  mentioned,  his  house  was  not  far  from  Sutter's  Fort.  We 
remained  several  days  here  on  the  American  River,  to  recruit  our 
animals  on  the  abundant  range  between  the  Sacramento  and  the 

On  the  24th  we  broke  up  camp  with  the  intention  of  making  an 
examination  of  the  lower  Sacramento  valley,  of  which  I  had  seen 
but  little  above  Sutter's  Fort.^  I  left  the  American  River  ten  miles 
above  its  mouth;  travelling  a  little  east  of  north  in  the  direction  of 
the  Bear  River  settlements.  The  road  led  among  oak  timber,  over 
ground  slightly  undulating,  covered  with  grass  intermingled  with 

At  sunrise  on  the  25th  the  temperature  was  a  few  degrees  above 
the  freezing  point  with  an  easterly  wind  and  a  clear  sky. 

In  about  thirty  miles'  travel  to  the  north,  we  reached  the  Keyser 
rancho,^  on  Bear  River;  an  affluent  to  Feather  River,  the  largest 
tributary  of  the  Sacramento.  The  route  lay  over  an  undulating 
country — more  so  as  our  course  brought  us  nearer  the  mountains — 
wooded  with  oaks  and  shrubbery  in  blossom,  with  small  prairies 
intervening.  Many  plants  were  in  flower  and  among  them  the  Cali- 
fornia poppy  unusually  magnificent.  It  is  the  characteristic  bloom 
of  California  at  this  season,  and  the  Bear  River  bottoms,  near  the 
hills,  were  covered  with  it.  The  blue  fields  of  the  nemophyla  and 
this  golden  poppy  represent  fairly  the  skies  and  gold  of  California. 

I  was  riding  quietly  along  with  Godey  through  the  oak  groves, 
the  party  being  several  miles  off  nigher  to  the  hills,  when  we  dis- 
covered two  Indian  women  busily  occupied  among  the  trees  on  the 
top  of  a  hill,  gathering  plants  or  clover-grass  into  their  conical  bas- 
kets. Taking  advantage  of  the  trees  we  had  nearly  reached  the  top 
of  the  hill,  thinking  to  surprise  these  quick-eyed  beings.  Reaching 
the  top  we  found  nothing  there  except  the  baskets — apparently  sud- 
denly dropped  and  the  grass  spilled  out.  There  were  several  bushes 
of  a  long-stemmed,  grass-like  shrub,  and  searching  around  to  see 


what  had  become  of  them,  we  discovered  two  pairs  of  naked  feet 
sticking  out  just  above  the  top  of  the  bushes. 

At  the  shout  we  raised  two  girls  to  whom  the  feet  belonged  rolled 
out  of  the  bushes  into  which  they  had  only  time  to  dive  as  we  neared 
the  top  of  the  hills,  thinking  perhaps  that  we  had  not  seen  them. 
They  were  but  little  alarmed  and  joined  in  the  laugh  we  had  at  their 
ostrich-like  idea  of  hiding.  It  appeared  that  they  belonged  to  a  vil- 
lage not  far  away  towards  the  hills.  Ranging  around  in  that  beauti- 
ful climate,  gathering  where  they  had  not  the  trouble  to  sow,  these 
people  had  at  that  time  their  life  of  thorough  enjoyment.  The  oaks 
and  pines  and  grasses  gave  them  abundant  vegetable  food,  and  game 
was  not  shy. 

We  crossed  several  small  streams,  and  found  the  ground  miry 
from  the  recent  rains.  The  temperature  at  four  in  the  afternoon  was 
70°,  and  at  sunset  58°,  with  an  easterly  wind,  and  the  night  bright 
and  clear. 

The  morning  of  the  26th  was  clear,  and  warmer  than  usual ;  the 
wind  southeasterly,  and  the  temperature  40°.  We  travelled  across 
the  valley  plain,  and  in  about  sixteen  miles  reached  Feather  River 
at  twenty  miles  from  its  junction  with  the  Sacramento,  near  the 
mouth  of  the  Yuba,  so  called  from  a  village  of  Indians  who  live  on 
it.  The  river  has  high  banks — twenty  or  thirty  feet — and  was  here 
one  hundred  and  fifty  yards  wide,  a  deep,  navigable  stream.  The 
Indians  aided  us  across  the  river  with  canoes  and  small  rafts.  Ex- 
tending along  the  bank  in  front  of  the  village  was  a  range  of  wicker 
cribs,  about  twelve  feet  high,  partly  filled  with  what  is  there  the 
Indians'  stafif  of  life — acorns.  A  collection  of  huts,  shaped  like  bee- 
hives, with  naked  Indians  sunning  themselves  on  the  tops,  and  these 
acorn  cribs,  are  the  prominent  objects  in  an  Indian  village. 

There  is  a  fine  farm,  or  rancho,  on  the  Yuba,  stocked  with  about 
three  thousand  head  of  cattle,  and  cultivated  principally  in  wheat, 
with  some  other  grains  and  vegetables,  which  are  carried  by  means 
of  the  river  to  a  market  at  San  Francisco.  Mr.  [Theodor]  Cordua, 
a  native  of  Germany,  who  is  proprietor  of  the  place,  informed  me 
that  his  average  harvest  of  wheat  was  twenty-five  bushels  to  the 
acre,  which  he  supposed  would  be  about  the  produce  of  the  wheat 
lands  in  the  Sacramento  valley.  The  labor  on  this  and  other  farms 
in  the  valley  is  performed  by  Indians. 

The  temperature  here  was  74°  at  two  in  the  afternoon,  71°  at 
four,  and  69°  at  sunset,  with  a  northeasterly  wind  and  a  clear  sky. 


At  sunrise  of  the  27th  the  temperature  was  42°,  clear,  with  a 
northeasterly  wind.  We  travelled  northwardly,  up  the  right  bank 
of  the  river,  which  was  wooded  with  large  white  and  evergreen 
oaks,  interspersed  with  thickets  of  shrubbery  in  full  bloom.  This 
was  a  pleasant  journey  of  twenty-seven  miles,  and  we  encamped  at 
the  bend  of  the  river,  where  it  turns  from  the  course  across  the  valley 
to  run  southerly  to  its  junction  with  the  Sacramento.  The  thermom- 
eter at  sunset  was  67°,  sky  partially  clouded,  with  southerly  wind. 

The  thermometer  at  sunrise  on  the  28th  was  at  45°  5',  with  a 
northeasterly  wind.  The  road  was  over  an  open  plain,  with  a  few 
small  sloughs  or  creeks  that  do  not  reach  the  river.  After  travelling 
about  fifteen  miles,  we  encamped  on  Butte  Creek,  a  beautiful  stream 
of  clear  water  about  fifty  yards  wide,  with  a  bold  current  running 
all  the  year.  It  has  large,  fertile  bottoms,  wooded  with  open  groves, 
and  having  a  luxuriant  growth  of  pea  vine  among  the  grass.  The 
oaks  here  were  getting  into  general  bloom.  Fine  ranchos  have  been 
selected  on  both  sides  of  the  stream,  and  stocked  with  cattle,  some  of 
which  were  now  very  fat.  A  rancho  [Esquon]  here  is  owned  by 
[Samuel]  Neal,  who  formerly  belonged  to  my  exploring  party.  It 
may  be  remembered  that  in  my  last  expedition  I  had  acceded  to  his 
request  to  be  left  at  Sutter's  where  he  was  offered  high  wages,  with 
a  certain  prospect  of  betterment,  where  good  mechanics  were  in 
great  request.  He  was  a  skilful  blacksmith,  and  had  been  and  was 
very  useful  to  me,  as  our  horses'  feet  were  one  of  the  first  cares.  But 
his  uniform  good  conduct  rendered  him  worthy  of  any  favor  I  could 
grant,  and  he  was  accordingly  left  at  Sutter's  when  we  resumed  our 
march  homeward.  In  the  brief  time  which  had  elapsed  he  had  suc- 
ceeded in  becoming  a  prospering  stockman,  with  a  good  rancho. 
There  is  a  rancheria  (Indian  village)  near  by,  and  some  of  the  In- 
dians gladly  ran  races  for  the  head  and  offals  of  a  fat  cow  which  had 
been  presented  to  us.  They  were  entirely  naked.  The  thermometer 
at  two  in  the  afternoon  was  at  70°,  two  hours  later  at  74°,  and  65° 
at  sunset;  the  wind  east,  and  the  sky  clear  only  in  the  west. 

The  temperature  at  sunrise  the  next  day  was  50°,  with  cumuli 
in  the  south  and  west,  which  left  a  clear  sky  at  nine,  with  a  north- 
west wind,  and  temperature  of  64°.  We  travelled  twenty  miles,  and 
encamped  on  Pine  Creek,  another  fine  stream,  with  bottoms  of 
fertile  land,  wooded  with  groves  of  large  and  handsome  oaks,  some 
attaining  to  six  feet  in  diameter,  and  forty  to  seventy  feet  in  height. 


At  four  in  the  afternoon,  the  thermometer  showed  74°  and  64°  at 
sunset;  and  the  sky  clear,  except  in  the  horizon. 

March  30. — The  sun  rose  in  masses  of  clouds  over  the  eastern 
mountains.  A  pleasant  morning,  with  a  sunrise  temperature  of  46° 
5',  and  some  mosquitoes — never  seen,  it  is  said,  in  the  coast  country; 
but  at  seasons  of  high  water  abundant  and  venomous  in  the  bottoms 
of  the  Joaquin  and  Sacramento.  On  the  tributaries  nearer  the  moun- 
tains but  few  are  seen,  and  those  go  with  the  sun.  Continuing  up 
the  valley,  we  crossed  in  a  short  distance  a  large  wooded  creek, 
having  now  about  thirty-five  feet  breadth  of  water.  Our  road  was 
over  an  upland  prairie  of  the  Sacramento,  having  a  yellowish, 
gravelly  soil,  generally  two  or  three  miles  from  the  river,  and  twelve 
or  fifteen  from  the  foot  of  the  eastern  mountains.  On  the  west  it 
was  twenty-five  or  thirty  miles  to  the  foot  of  the  mountains,  which 
here  make  a  bed  of  high  and  broken  ranges.  In  the  afternoon,  about 
half  a  mile  above  its  mouth,  we  encamped  on  Deer  Creek,  another 
of  these  beautiful  tributaries  of  the  Sacramento.  It  has  the  usual 
broad  and  fertile  bottom-lands  common  to  these  streams,  wooded 
with  groves  of  oak  and  a  large  sycamore  {platanus  occidefitalis), 
distinguished  by  bearing  its  balls  in  strings  of  three  to  five,  and 
peculiar  to  California.  Mr.  Lassen,  a  native  of  Germany,  has  estab- 
lished a  rancho  here,  which  he  has  stocked,  and  is  gradually  bring- 
ing into  cultivation."*  Wheat,  as  generally  throughout  the  north 
country,  gives  large  returns;  cotton,  planted  in  the  way  of  experi- 
ment, was  not  injured  by  frost,  and  succeeded  well;  and  he  has 
lately  planted  a  vineyard,  for  which  the  Sacramento  valley  is  con- 
sidered to  be  singularly  well  adapted.  The  seasons  arc  not  yet  suffi- 
ciendy  understood,  and  too  litde  has  been  done  in  agriculture,  to 
afford  certain  knowledge  of  the  capacities  of  the  country.  This  farm 
is  in  the  40th  degree  of  latitude;  our  position  on  the  river  being  in 
39°  57  00",  and  'longitude  121°  56' 44"  west  from  Greenwich,  ^and 
elevation  above  the  sea  five  hundred  and  sixty  feet.  About  three 
miles  above  the  mouth  of  this  stream  are  the  first  rapids — the  pres- 
ent head  of  navigation — in  the  Sacramento  River,  which,  from  the 
rapids  to  its  mouth  in  the  bay,  is  more  than  two  hundred  miles 
long,  and  increasing  in  breadth  from  one  hundred  and  fifty  yards 
to  six  hundred  yards  in  the  lower  part  of  its  course. 

During  six  days  that  we  remained  here,  from  the  30th  March 
to  the  5th  April,  the  mean  temperature  was  40°  at  sunrise,  52°. 5  at 


nine  in  the  morning,  57°. 2  at  noon,  59°. 4  at  two  in  the  afternoon, 
58°. 8  at  four,  and  52°  at  sunset;  and  at  the  corresponding  times  the 
dew  point  was  at  37°.0,  4r.O,  38°.l,  39°.6,  44°.9,  40°.5;  and  the 
moisture  in  a  cubic  foot  of  air  2.838  grs.,  3.179  grs.  2.935  grs.,  3.034 
grs.,  3.766  grs.,  3.150  grs.  respectively.  Much  cloudy  weather  and 
some  showers  of  rain,  during  this  interval,  considerably  reduced  the 
temperature,  which  rose  with  fine  weather  on  the  5th.  Salmon  was 
now  abundant  in  the  Sacramento.  Those  which  we  obtained  were 
generally  between  three  and  four  feet  in  length,  and  appeared  to  be 
of  two  distinct  kinds.  It  is  said  that  as  many  as  four  different  kinds 
ascend  the  river  at  different  periods.  The  great  abundance  in  which 
this  fish  is  found  gives  it  an  important  place  among  the  resources 
of  the  country.  The  salmon  crowd  in  immense  numbers  up  the 
Umpqua,  Tlamath  [Klamath],  and  Trinity  Rivers,  and  into  every 
little  river  and  creek  on  the  coast  north  of  the  Bay  of  San  Francisco; 
and  up  the  San  Joaquin  River,  into  the  Stanislaus,  beyond  which  the 
Indians  say  they  do  not  go.  Entering  all  the  rivers  of  the  coast  far 
to  the  north,  and  finding  their  way  up  into  the  smaller  branches 
which  penetrate  the  forests  of  the  interior  country,  climbing  up 
cataracts  and  lesser  falls,  this  fish  had  a  large  share  in  supporting 
the  Indians — who  raised  nothing,  but  lived  on  what  Nature  gave. 
"A  Salmon-Water,"  as  they  named  it,  was  a  valuable  possession  to 
a  tribe  or  village,  and  jealously  preserved  as  an  inheritance.  I  found 
the  "Salmon-waters"  in  the  forests  along  the  eastern  flank  of  the 
Cascade  range  below  the  Columbia  River. 

In  the  evening  of  the  5th  we  resumed  our  journey  northward,*' 
and  encamped  on  a  little  creek  near  the  Sacramento,  where  an 
emigrant  from  "the  States"  was  establishing  himself,  and  had  al- 
ready built  a  house.  It  is  a  handsome  place,  wooded  with  groves  of 
oak,  and  along  the  creek  are  sycamore,  ash,  cottonwood,  and  willow. 
The  day  was  fine,  with  a  northwest  wind. 

The  temperature  at  sunrise  the  next  day  (April  6th)  was  42°, 
with  a  northeasterly  wind.  We  continued  up  the  Sacramento,  which 
we  crossed  in  canoes  at  a  farm  on  the  right  bank  of  the  river.  The 
Sacramento  was  here  about  one  hundred  and  forty  yards  wide,  and 
with  the  actual  stage  of  water,  which  I  was  informed  continued 
several  months,  navigable  for  a  steamboat.  We  encamped  a  few 
miles  above,  on  a  creek  wooded  principally  with  large  oaks.  Grass 
was  good  and  abundant,  with  wild  oats  and  pea  vine  in  the  bottoms. 
The  day  was  fine,  with  a  cool  northwesterly  breeze,  which  had  in 


it  the  air  of  the  high  mountains.  The  wild  oats  here  were  not  yet 

The  snowy  peak  of  Shastl  |  Shasta]  bore  directly  north,  showing 
out  high  above  the  other  mountains.  Temperature  at  sunset  57°, 
with  a  west  wind  and  sky  partly  clouded. 

April  7. — The  temperature  at  sunrise  was  37°,  with  a  moist  air; 
and  a  faintly  clouded  sky  indicated  that  the  wind  was  southerly 
along  the  coast.  We  travelled  toward  the  Shastl  peak,  the  mountain 
ranges  on  both  sides  of  the  valleys  being  high  and  rugged,  and 
snow-covered.  Some  remarkable  peaks  in  the  Sierra,  to  the  eastward, 
are  called  the  Sisters,  and,  nearly  opposite,  the  Coast  Range  shows 
a  prominent  peak,  to  which  in  remembrance  of  my  friend  Senator 
Linn,  I  gave  the  name  Mount  Linn,'  as  an  enduring  monument 
to  recall  the  prolonged  services  rendered  by  him  in  securing  to  the 
country  our  Oregon  coast.  I  trust  this  reason  will  protect  it  from 
change.  These  giant  monuments,  rising  above  the  country  and  seen 
from  afar,  keep  alive  and  present  with  the  people  the  memory  of 
patriotic  men,  and  so  continue  their  good  services  after  death. 
Mount  Linn  and  Mount  Shastl  keep  open  to  the  passing  glance 
each  an  interesting  page  of  the  country's  history — the  one  recording 
a  successful  struggle  for  the  ocean  boundary  which  it  overlooks, 
the  other  the  story  of  a  strange  people  passed  away.  And  so,  too, 
these  natural  towers  call  attention  from  the  detail  of  daily  occupa- 
tion to  the  larger  duties  which  should  influence  the  lives  of  men. 

Leaving  the  Sacramento,  at  a  stream  called  Red  Bank  Creek, 
we  entered  on  a  high  and  somewhat  broken  upland,  timbered  with 
at  least  four  varieties  of  oaks,  with  mansanita  {arbutus  Menziesii) 
\Arctostaphylos  sp.]  and  other  shrubbery  interspersed.  The  man- 
sanita is  the  strange  shrub  which  I  met  in  March  of  '44  in  coming 
down  from  the  Sierra  Nevada  to  Sutter's  Fort,  and  which  in  my 
journal  of  that  time  I  described  as  follows:  "A  new  and  singular 
shrub,  which  had  made  its  appearance  since  crossing  the  mountain, 
was  very  frequent  to-day.  It  branched  out  near  the  ground,  forming 
a  clump  eight  to  ten  feet  high,  with  pale  green  leaves  of  an  oval 
form,  and  the  body  and  branches  had  a  naked  appearance  as  if 
stripped  of  the  bark,  which  is  very  smooth  and  thin,  of  a  chocolate 
color,  contrasting  well  with  the  pale  green  of  the  leaves."  Out  of 
its  red  berries  the  Indians  made  a  cider  which,  put  to  cool  in  the 
running  streams,  makes  a  pleasant,  refreshing  drink.  A  remarkable 
species  of  pine,  having  leaves   in   threes    (sometimes  six  to  nine 


inches  long),  with  bluish  foliage,  and  a  spreading,  oak-shaped  top, 
was  scattered  through  the  timber.  I  have  remarked  that  this  tree 
grows  lower  down  the  mountains  than  the  other  pines,  being  found 
familiarly  associated  with  oaks,  the  first  met  after  leaving  the  open 
valleys,  and  seeming  to  like  a  warm  climate.  It  seems  that  even 
among  inanimate  things  association  levels  differences.  This  tree, 
growing  among  oaks,  forgets  its  narrow  piny  form  and  color,  and 
takes  the  spreaded  shape  of  the  oaks,  their  broad  summits,  and  lesser 
heights.  Flowers  were  as  usual  abundant.  The  splendid  California 
poppy  characterized  all  the  route  along  the  valley.  A  species  of  clo- 
ver was  in  bloom,  and  the  berries  of  the  mansanita  were  beginning 
to  redden  on  some  trees,  while  others  were  still  in  bloom.  We  en- 
camped, at  an  elevation  of  about  one  thousand  feet  above  the  sea, 
on  a  large  stream  called  Cottonwood  Creek,  wooded  on  the  bottoms 
with  oaks,  and  with  cotton-woods  along  the  bed,  which  is  sandy 
and  gravelly.  The  water  was  at  this  time  about  twenty  yards  wide, 
but  is  frequently  fifty.  The  face  of  the  country  traversed  during  the 
day  was  gravelly,  and  the  bottoms  of  the  creek  where  we  encamped 
have  a  sandy  soil. 

There  are  six  or  seven  rancherias  of  Indians  on  the  Sacramento 
River  between  the  farm  where  we  had  crossed  the  Sacramento  and 
the  mouth  of  this  creek,  and  many  others  in  the  mountains  about 
the  heads  of  these  streams. 

The  next  morning  was  cloudy,  threatening  rain,  but  the  sky  grew 
brighter  as  the  sun  rose,  and  a  southerly  wind  changed  to  north- 
west, which  brought,  as  it  never  fails  to  bring,  clear  weather. 

We  continued  sixteen  miles  up  the  valley,  and  encamped  on  the 
Sacramento  River.  In  the  afternoon  (April  8th)  the  weather  again 
grew  thick  and  in  the  evening  rain  began  to  fall  in  the  valley  and 
snow  on  the  mountains.  We  were  now  near  the  head  of  the  lower 
valley,  and  the  face  of  the  country  and  the  weather  began  sensibly 
to  show  the  influence  of  the  rugged  mountains  which  surround  and 
terminate  it. 

The  valley  of  the  Sacramento  is  divided  into  upper  and  lower — 
the  lower  two  hundred  miles  long,  the  upper  known  to  the  trappers 
as  Pitt  [Pit]  river,  about  one  hundred  and  fifty;  and  the  latter  not 
merely  entitled  to  the  distinction  of  upper,  as  being  higher  up  the 
river,  but  also  as  having  a  superior  elevation  of  some  thousands  of 
feet  above  it.  The  division  is  strongly  and  geographically  marked. 
The  Shastl  peak  stands  at  the  head  of  the  lower  valley,  rising  from 


a  base  of  about  one  thousand  feet  out  of  a  forest  of  heavy  timber. 
It  ascends  like  an  immense  column  upwards  of  fourteen  thousand 
feet  (nearly  the  height  of  Mont  Blanc),'^  the  summit  glistening  with 
snow,  and  visible,  from  favorable  points  of  view,  at  a  distance  of 
one  hundred  and  forty  miles  down  the  valley.  The  river  here,  in 
descending  from  the  upper  valley,  plunges  down  through  a  caiion, 
falling  two  thousand  feet  in  twenty  miles.  This  upper  valley  is  one 
hundred  and  fifty  miles  long,  heavily  timbered,  the  climate  and 
production  modified  by  its  altitude,  its  more  northern  position,  and 
the  proximity  and  elevation  of  the  neighboring  mountains  covered 
with  snow.  It  contains  valleys  of  arable  land,  and  is  deemed  capable 
of  settlement.  Added  to  the  lower  valley,  it  makes  the  whole  valley 
of  the  Sacramento  three  hundred  and  fifty  miles  long. 

April  9. — At  ten  o'clock  the  rain  which  commenced  the  previous 
evening  had  ceased,  and  the  clouds  clearing  away,  we  boated  the 
river,  and  continued  our  journey  eastward  toward  the  foot  of  the 
Sierra.  The  Sacramento  bottoms  here  are  broad  and  prettily  wooded, 
with  soil  of  a  sandy  character.  Our  way  led  through  very  handsome, 
open  woods,  principally  of  oaks,  mingled  with  a  considerable  quan- 
tity of  the  oak-shaped  pine.  Interspersed  among  these  were  bosquets 
or  thickets  of  mansanita,  and  an  abundant  white-flowering  shrub, 
now  entirely  covered  with  small  blossoms.  The  head  of  the  valley 
here  (lower  valley)  is  watered  by  many  small  streams,  having  fertile 
bottom  lands,  with  a  good  range  of  grass  and  acorns.  In  about  six 
miles  we  crossed  a  creek  twenty  or  twenty-five  feet  wide,  and  several 
miles  farther  descended  into  the  broad  bottoms  of  a  swift  stream 
about  twenty  yards  wide,  called  Cow  Creek,  so  named  as  being  the 
range  of  a  small  band  of  cattle,  which  ran  off  here  from  a  party  on 
their  way  to  Oregon.  They  are  entirely  wild,  and  are  hunted  like 
other  game.  A  large  band  of  antelope  was  seen  in  the  timber,  and 
five  or  six  deer  came  darting  through  the  woods.  An  antelope  and 
several  deer  were  killed.  There  appear  to  be  two  species  of  these 
deer — both  of  the  kind  generally  called  black-tailed;  one,  a  larger 
species  frequenting  the  prairies  and  lower  grounds;  the  other,  much 
smaller,  and  found  in  the  mountains  only.  The  mountains  in  the 
northeast  were  black  with  clouds  when  we  reached  the  creek,  and 
very  soon  a  fierce  hailstorm  burst  down  on  us,  scattering  our  ani- 
mals and  covering  the  ground  an  inch  in  depth  with  hailstones 
about  the  size  of  wild  cherries.  The  face  of  the  country  appeared 
as  whitened  by  a  fall  of  snow,  and  the  weather  became  unpleasantly 


cold.  The  evening  closed  in  with  rain,  and  thunder  rolling  around 
the  hills.  Our  elevation  here  vv^as  between  one  thousand  and  eleven 
hundred  feet.  At  sunrise  the  next  morning  the  thermometer  was  at 
33°.  The  surrounding  mountains  showed  a  continuous  line  of  snow, 
and  the  high  peaks  looked  wintry.  Turning  to  the  southward,  we 
retraced  our  steps  down  the  valley,  and  reached  Lassen's,  on  Deer 
River,  on  the  evening  of  the  11th.  The  Sacramento  bottoms  between 
Antelope  and  Deer  River  were  covered  with  oats,  which  had  at- 
tained their  full  height,  growing  as  in  sown  fields.  The  country  here 
exhibited  the  maturity  of  spring.  The  California  poppy  was  every- 
where forming  seed-pods,  and  many  plants  were  in  flower  and  seed 
together.  Some  varieties  of  clover  were  just  beginning  to  bloom. 
By  the  middle  of  the  month  the  seed-vessels  of  the  California  poppy 
which,  from  its  characteristic  abundance,  is  a  prominent  feature  in 
the  vegetation,  had  attained  their  full  size;  but  the  seeds  of  this  and 
many  other  plants,  although  fully  formed,  were  still  green-colored, 
and  not  entirely  ripe.  At  this  time  I  obtained  from  the  San  Joaquin 
valley  seeds  of  the  poppy,  and  other  plants,  black  and  fully  ripe, 
while  they  still  remained  green  in  this  part  of  the  Sacramento — the 
effect  of  a  warmer  climate  in  the  valley  of  the  San  Joaquin,  The 
mean  temperature  for  fourteen  days,  from  the  10th  to  the  24th  of 
April,  was  43°  at  sunrise,  58°  at  nine  in  the  morning,  64°  at  noon, 
66°  at  two  in  the  afternoon,  69°  at  four,  and  58°  at  sunset  (latitude 
40°).  The  thermometer  ranged  at  sunrise  from  38°  to  51°,  at  four 
(which  is  the  hottest  of  those  hours  of  the  day  when  the  temperature 
was  noted)  from  53°  to  88°,  and  at  sunset  from  49°  to  65°.  The 
dew  point  was  40°. 3  at  sunrise,  47°. 3  at  9  in  the  morning,  46°.l  at 
noon,  49°. 2  at  2  in  the  afternoon,  49°. 2  at  4,  and  46°. 6  at  sunset; 
and  the  quantity  of  moisture  in  a  cubic  foot  of  air  at  corresponding 
times  was  3.104  grs.,  3.882  grs.,  3.807  grs.,  4.213  grs.,  4.217  grs., 
3.884  grs.,  respectively.  The  winds  fluctuated  between  northwest 
and  southeast,  the  temperature  depending  more  upon  the  state  of 
the  sky  than  the  direction  of  the  winds — a  clouded  sky  always 
lowering  the  thermometer  fifteen  or  twenty  degrees  in  a  short  time. 
For  the  greater  number  of  the  days  above  given  the  sky  was  covered 
and  the  atmosphere  frequently  thick  with  rain  at  intervals  from  the 
19th  to  the  23d. 

Here  at  Lassen's  I  set  up  the  transit  and  during  the  nights  of  the 
14th  and  16th  (April)  obtained  good  observations  of  moon  culmi- 
nations which  established  the  longitude  of  the  place  in  120°  56' 44'', 


latitude  obtained  39°  57' 04".  This  was  the  third  of  my  main  sta- 
tions and  the  place  of  observation  was  upon  Deer  River  half  a  mile 
above  its  mouth  in  the  Sacramento  and  opposite  Lassen's  house. 

On  the  24th  I  left  Lassen's,  intending  to  penetrate  the  country, 
along  the  Cascade  ranges  north  into  Oregon,  and  connect  there  with 
the  line  of  my  journey  of  '43,  which  lay  up  the  Fall  [Deschutes] 
River  of  the  Columbia  and  south  to  the  great  savannah,  or  grassy 
meadow-lake  through  which  flows  from  among  the  ridges  of  the 
Cascade  Mountains  the  principal  tributary  or  rather  the  main  stream 
of  the  waters  which  make  the  Tlamath  Lake  and  River.  It  is  a 
timbered  country,  clothed  with  heavy  pine  forests  that  nourish 
many  streams. 

Travelling  up  the  Sacramento  over  ground  already  described,  we 
reached  the  head  of  the  lower  valley  in  the  evening  of  the  second 
day  and  in  the  morning  of  the  26th  left  the  Sacramento,  going  up 
one  of  the  many  pretty  little  streams  that  flow  into  the  main  river 
around  the  head  of  the  lower  valley."  On  either  side  low,  steep 
ridges  were  covered  along  their  summits  with  pines,  and  oaks  oc- 
cupied the  somewhat  broad  bottom  of  the  creek.  Snowy  peaks  which 
made  the  horizon  on  the  right  gave  a  cool  tone  to  the  landscape, 
and  the  thermometer  showed  a  temperature  of  71°,  but  there  was 
no  breeze  and  the  air  was  still  and  hot.  There  were  many  runs  and 
small  streams,  with  much  bottom-land,  and  the  abundant  grass  and 
acorns,  both  of  excellent  quality,  made  it  a  favorite  resort  for  game. 
The  frequent  appearance  of  game  furnished  excitement,  and  to- 
gether with  the  fine  weather,  which  made  mere  breathing  an  en- 
joyment, kept  the  party  in  exhilarated  spirits.  At  our  encampment 
among  oak  groves  in  the  evening,  we  found  ourselves  apparently 
in  a  bear  garden,  where  the  rough  denizens  resented  our  intrusion 
and  made  a  lively  time  for  the  hunters,  who  succeeded  in  killing 
four  of  them  after  we  had  encamped.  During  our  skirmishing 
among  the  bear  this  afternoon  we  had  overtaken  and  slightly 
wounded  one,  just  enough  to  irritate  him.  At  this  moment  Dela- 
ware Charley's  horse  fell  near  by  the  bear.  To  save  Charley  we  had 
all  to  close  in  on  the  bear,  who  was  fortunately  killed  before  he 
could  get  the  Delaware.  In  his  fall  the  hammer  of  his  gun  struck 
Charley  on  the  bridge  of  his  nose  and  broke  it  in  the  middle.  We 
had  no  surgeon,  but  I  managed  to  get  it  into  good  shape  and  it 
healed  without  trace  of  injury.  I  was  always  proud  of  this  surgical 
operation,  and  the  Delaware  was  especially  pleased.  He  was  a  fine- 


.  '-'f.~'  '-t-^^'       :'    ■""-?- -vV.  "' : 




looking  young  man,  and  naively  vain  of  his  handsome  face,  which 
now  had  a  nose  unusual  among  his  people;  the  aquiline  arch  had 
been  broken  to  knit  into  a  clear  straight  line,  of  which  he  became 
very  vain. 

At  sunset  the  weather  was  pleasant,  with  a  temperature  of  56°. 
I  had  only  an  observation  for  latitude,  which  put  the  camp  in  40° 
38'  58",  and  the  elevation  above  the  sea  was  one  thpusand  and 
eighty  feet.  The  day  following  we  found  a  good  way  along  a  flat 
ridge;  there  was  a  pretty  stream  in  a  mountain  valley  on  the  right, 
and  the  face  of  the  country  was  already  beginning  to  assume  a 
mountainous  character,  wooded  with  mingled  oak  and  long-leaved 
pine,  and  having  a  surface  of  scattered  rocks,  with  grass  or  flowers, 
among  them  the  three-leaved  poppy,  its  parti-colored  blossoms  wav- 
ing on  the  long  stem  above  the  grass,  and  gaining  for  itself  the 
name  mariposas,  already  mentioned  because  of  its  resembling  living 
butterflies.  I  speak  often  of  the  grass  and  the  flowers,  but  I  have 
learned  to  value  the  one  and  the  other  lends  a  beauty  to  the  scenery 
which  I  do  not  like  to  omit,  and  the  reader  can  always  imagine  for 
himself  the  brightness  they  give  when  once  he  has  had  described 
the  glorious  flowers  of  this  country,  where  the  most  lovely  hues 
are  spread  in  fields  over  both  hill  and  plain.  At  noon,  when  we  were 
crossing  a  high  ridge,  the  temperature  was  down  to  61°,  and  where 
we  encamped  at  an  elevation  of  two  thousand  four  hundred  and 
sixty  feet,  on  a  creek  that  went  roaring  into  the  valley,  the  sunset 
temperature  was  52°. 

The  next  day  I  continued  up  the  stream  on  which  we  had  slept, 
and  with  it  the  mountain  slope  rose  rapidly,  clothed  with  heavy 
timber.  On  crossing  one  of  the  high  ridges,  snow  and  the  great 
[sugar]  pine  [Phms]  Lambertiani  appeared  together,  and  an  hour 
before  noon  we  reached  a  pass  in  the  main  ridge  of  the  Sierra 
Nevada,  in  an  open  pine  forest  at  an  elevation  of  only  four  thousand 
six  hundred  feet,  where  the  snow  was  in  patches  and  the  deciduous 
oaks  were  mingled  with  the  pines.  The  thermometer  was  at  50°,  and 
we  were  not  above  the  upper  limit  of  the  oak  region.  This  pass  is 
in  about  the  fortieth  degree  of  latitude,  and  is  in  the  terminating 
point  of  the  northern  link  of  the  Sierra  Nevada  chain,  which  the 
Cascade  range  takes  up  with  the  link  of  the  Shastl  peak.  Between 
the  points  of  these  links  the  upper  Sacramento  River  breaks  down 
on  its  way  to  the  Bay  of  San  Francisco  and  the  Tlamath  River  to 
the  sea. 


Going  through  this  pass  and  descending  the  mountain,  we  entered 
into  what  may  be  called  a  basin  or  mountain  valley,  lying  north 
and  south  along  the  ranges  of  the  Cascade  Mountains.  Here  we 
found  a  region  very  different  from  the  valley  of  California.  We 
had  left  behind  the  soft,  delightful  climate  of  the  coast,  from  which 
we  were  cut  off  by  the  high,  snowy  mountains,  and  had  ascended 
into  one  resembling  that  of  the  Great  Basin,  and  under  the  influence 
of  the  same  elevation  above  the  sea;  but  more  fertile  and  having 
much  forest  land,  and  well  watered.  The  face  of  the  country  was 
different  from  that  of  the  valley  which  we  had  just  left,  being  open 
and  more  spread  into  plain,  in  which  there  were  frequent  lakes  as 
well  as  rivers.  The  soil  itself  is  different;  sometimes  bare.  At  times 
we  travelled  over  stretches  in  the  forest  where  the  soil  was  a  gray 
or  yellowish-white  pumice-stone,  like  that  which  I  have  seen  along 
the  Cascade  range  in  travelling  south  from  the  Columbia  River, 
where  the  soil  was  covered  with  splendid  pine  forests,  but  where 
there  was  hardly  a  blade  of  grass  to  be  found.  Very  different  from 
this  the  compact  growth  of  grass  and  flowers  which  belong  to  the 
California  valley,  where  the  rich  soil  had  accumulated  the  wash 
of  ages  from  the  mountains,  and  where  the  well-watered  land  and 
moisture  of  the  air  combine  to  cover  the  country  with  its  uncommon 
and  profuse  vegetation.  The  country  where  we  now  were  was  not 
known  to  any  of  the  men  with  me,  and  I  was  not  able  to  communi- 
cate with  any  of  the  Indians,  who  in  this  region  were  unfriendly — 
from  these  I  might  have  learned  the  names  by  which  the  natural 
features  were  known  to  them.  Except  in  some  of  its  leading  features 
I  regarded  this  district  as  not  within  the  limits  of  fixed  geography, 
and  therefore  I  thought  it  well  to  give  names  to  these;  to  some  at 
the  time,  and  to  others  afterward,  when  I  came  to  making  up  a 
map  of  the  country.  And  this  was  also  necessary,  as  otherwise  I  could 
not  conveniently  refer  to  them. 

On  the  29th  of  April  I  encamped  on  the  upper  Sacramento  [Pit 
River],  above  Fall  River,  which  is  tributary  to  it.  I  obtained  observa- 
tions here,  which  gave  for  longitude  121°  07' 59",  and  for  latitude 
40°  58' 43";  and  the  next  day  again  encamped  on  it  at  the  upper 
end  of  a  valley,  to  which,  from  its  marked  form,  I  gave  the  name 
Roujid  Valley  [Big  Valley].  By  observation  the  longitude  here  is 
12r  or  23",  latitude  41°  17'  17''.  On  the  first  of  May  I  encamped 
on  the  southeastern  end  of  a  lake,  which  afterwards  I  named  Lake 
Rhett  [Tule  Lake,  which  has  been  reclaimed]  in  friendly  remem- 


brance  of  Mr.  Barnwell  Rhett,  of  South  Carolina,  who  is  connected 
with  one  of  the  events  of  my  life  which  brought  with  it  an  abiding 
satisfaction/"  I  obtained  observations  here  which  placed  this  end 
of  the  lake  in  longitude  121  °  15'  24",  and  latitude  41  °  48'  49". 

This  camp  was  some  twenty-five  or  thirty  miles  from  the  lava 
beds,  near  which  Major-General  [E.  R.  S.]  Canby  was  killed  by  the 
Modocs,  twenty-seven  years  later;  and  when  there  was  some  of  the 
hardest  fighting  known  in  Indian  history  between  them  and  our 
troops. ^^ 

This  Indian  fighting  is  always  close,  incurring  more  certain  risk 
of  life  and  far  more  sanguinary,  than  in  the  ordinary  contests  be- 
tween civilized  troops.  Every  Indian  fights  with  intention,  and  for 
all  that  is  in  him;  he  waits  for  no  orders,  but  has  every  effort  con- 
centrated on  his  intention  to  kill.  And,  singularly,  this  Indian  fight- 
ing, which  calls  for  the  utmost  skill  and  courage  on  the  part  of  men, 
is  not  appreciated  by  the  Government,  or  held  worthy  of  the  notice 
given  to  the  milder  civilized  warfare. 

When  we  left  Round  Valley  in  the  morning  Archambeau[lt], 
who  was  an  inveterate  hunter,  had  gone  off  among  the  hills  and 
towards  the  mountain  in  search  of  game. 

We  had  now  entered  more  into  the  open  country,  though  still  a 
valley  or  high  upland  along  the  foot  of  the  main  ridge,  and  were 
travelling  north;  but  the  route  of  the  day  is  often  diverted  from  its 
general  course  by  accidents  of  country  and  for  convenient  camping 
grounds.  Archambeau  did  not  come  in  at  night,  and  when  the 
morning  came  and  did  not  bring  him  I  did  not  move  camp,  but 
sent  out  men  to  look  for  him.  Since  leaving  the  California  Moun- 
tains we  had  seen  no  Indians,  though  frequently  we  came  upon 
their  tracks  and  other  sign.  All  through  this  country  there  were 
traces  of  them.  Doubtless  our  camp-fires  had  discovered  us  to  them, 
but  they  hovered  around  out  of  our  way  and  out  of  sight.  The 
second  dav  passed  and  still  no  trace  of  Archambeau  had  been  found, 
and  the  greater  part  of  the  third  was  passed  in  scouring  the  country. 
There  would  have  been  little  difficulty  in  a  prairie  region,  but  in  a 
broken  or  hilly  country  much  ground  cannot  be  covered  and  the 
search  is  restricted  to  a  small  area.  We  had  now  been  in  camp  three 
days  and  I  began  to  be  seriouslv  disturbed  by  his  absence.  Game 
had  been  found  scarce  in  the  immediate  neighborhood.  He  had  noth- 
ing  with  him  but  a  little  dried  meat  when  he  turned  off  from  the 
party,  expecting  to  rejoin  us  before  night,  and  the  Indians  in  the 


region  through  which  we  were  travelHng  were  known  to  be  hostile 
and  treacherous,  with  a  fixed  character  for  daring.  Parties  from  as 
far  north  as  the  Hudson  Bay  Company's  post  who  had  penetrated 
here  had  met  with  some  rough  experiences,  and  the  story  of  trapper 
adventure  hereabout  was  full  of  disaster.^^  On  one  occasion  a  large 
party  of  trappers  from  the  north  were  encamped  on  one  of  the 
streams  of  the  Cascade  range,  and  having  been  led  into  carelessness 
by  the  apparent  friendly  conduct  of  the  Indians,  were  every  man 
killed/'"^  It  was  easy  to  waylay  a  single  man,  especially  if  he  were 
intent  on  game.  I  had  always  been  careful  of  my  men,  and  in  all 
my  journeyings  lost  but  few,  and  with  rare  exceptions  those  were 
by  accident  or  imprudence.  Naturally  disposed  that  way,  I  had  al- 
ways endeavored  to  provide  for  their  safety  so  far  as  the  nature  of 
our  exposed  life  permitted,  for  in  case  of  accident,  as  we  had  no 
surgeon,  I  was  myself  the  only  resource.  A  man  lost  from  camp 
was  likely  also  to  lose  his  life.  In  such  circumstances  every  hour 
increases  the  danger  of  his  situation..  And  so  about  sunset  we  were 
greatly  relieved  when  a  shout  from  the  men  on  guard  roused  the 
camp  and  we  saw  Archambeau  creeping  slowly  in,  man  and  horse 
equally  worn  out.  Searching  for  game,  he  had  been  led  off  and 
entangled  among  the  hills  until  the  coming  night  roused  him  and 
the  darkness  cut  ofT  all  chance  of  reaching  camp.  His  search  was  as 
fruitless  on  the  following  days.  He  did  not  meet  game,  and  his 
horse  being  kept  close  at  hand  at  night  had  no  chance  to  feed,  and 
was  nearly  as  tired  as  himself.  And  he  had  probably  owed  his  life 
to  his  good  eyes.  These  were  unusually  fine,  with  an  instant  quick- 
ness to  catch  a  moving  object  or  any  slight  difference  in  color  or 
form  of  what  lay  before  him.  I  was  riding  with  him  on  the  prairie 
one  day,  off  from  the  party,  when  he  suddenly  halted.  "Stop,"  he 
said,  "I  see  an  antelope's  horns."  About  fifty  steps  away  an  antelope 
was  lying  in  the  tall  grass,  and  the  top  of  its  horn  was  barely  visible 
above  it,  but  he  not  only  saw  it  but  shot  and  killed  it.  And  this  time 
his  eyes  had  served  him  well  again.  They  were  ranging  around 
taking  in  all  before  him  when  he  caught  sight  of  a  party  of  Indians. 
They  were  travelling  directly  across  his  line  of  way,  making  towards 
the  coast  mountains,  probably  going  to  some  river  in  which  there 
were  salmon.  If  they  had  been  coming  towards  him  they  would 
have  seen  him,  or  if  they  had  crossed  his  trail  behind  him  his  life 
would  have  been  lost.  He  saw  them  as  they  were  coming  up  out  of 
a  broad  ravine  and  in  the  instant  got  his  horse  out  of  sight  down  the 


-sr^rm-jgxr^r'  :a'js?'-.f — r^^r-y 

V     1 


slope  of  a  hill,  "My  heart  was  in  my  mouth  for  a  moment,"  he  said. 
The  danger  of  his  situation  had  already  brought  on  the  hurry  and 
excitement  which  often  deprives  a  man  of  all  prudence.  In  such 
mishaps  a  man  quickly  loses  his  head,  but  at  this  stage,  happily,  he 
struck  our  trail. 

The  arrival  of  Archambeau  relieved  and  spread  pleasure  through 
the  camp,  where  he  was  a  general  favorite.  He  was  Canadian,  tall, 
fine  looking,  very  cheerful,  and  with  all  the  gayety  of  the  voyageur 
before  hard  work  and  a  rough  life  had  driven  it  out.  He  had  that 
light,  elastic  French  temperament  that  makes  a  cheerful  companion 
in  travelling;  which  in  my  experience  brings  out  all  there  is  of  good 
or  bad  in  a  man.  I  loved  to  have  my  camp  cheerful  and  took  care 
always  for  the  health  and  comfort  which  carry  good  temper  with 
them.  Usually,  on  leaving  the  frontier,  I  provided  the  men  with 
tents  or  lodges,  but  by  the  time  we  had  been  a  month  or  two  on  the 
road,  they  would  come  to  me  to  say  that  it  was  hard  on  them  to 
have  to  put  up  their  lodge  at  night  when  they  were  tired,  and  that 
they  made  a  delay  in  the  morning  when  starting.  So  usually  their 
shelters  were  gladly  left  behind  and  they  took  the  weather  as  it 

Meantime  the  days  while  we  had  been  waiting  here  were  not 
lost.  Our  animals  had  been  resting  on  good  grass,  and  when  in  the 
morning  the  welcome  order  was  given  to  move  camp,  they  made  the 
lively  scene  which  Mr.  Kern  gives  in  the  picture  [p.  101].  This  was 
an  order  which  the  animals  were  always  prone  to  resist  promptly, 
and  their  three  days'  rest  made  them  do  it  now  with  unusual  vigor. 
But  the  men,  too,  refreshed  by  rest  and  cheered  by  the  recovery  of 
their  companion,  entered  with  equal  spirit  into  the  fray,  and  soon 
we  were  again  on  the  trail,  the  animals  settled  down  to  their  orderly 

Archambeau  was  himself  again  in  the  morning  after  a  night's 
rest,  and  good  meals  among  companions,  but  his  horse  was  let  to 
run  loose  for  some  days,  in  order  to  recover  its  useful  strength.  With 
the  animals  refreshed  we  made  a  long  stretch  and  encamped  on  a 
stream  flowing  into  Lake  Rhett,  which  I  called  McCrady  [Lost 
River].  This  was  the  name  of  one  of  my  boyhood's  friends  [Edward 
McCrady],  living  in  Charleston,  who  came  this  evening  into  my 
mind,  and  I  left  his  memory  on  the  stream.  In  such  work  as  I  was 
engaged  in  there  is  always  much  time  for  thinking,  or  ruminating. 


as  it  may  better  be  called;  not  upon  the  road,  but  often  at  night, 
waiting  for  the  hour  when  the  work  belonging  to  it  may  begin. 

In  the  forenoon  of  the  sixth  we  reached  the  Tlamath  Lake  [Upper 
Klamath  Lake]  at  its  outlet,  which  is  by  a  fine,  broad  stream,  not 
fordable.  This  is  a  great  fishing  station  for  the  Indians,  and  we  met 
here  the  first  we  had  seen  since  leaving  the  lower  valley.  They  have 
fixed  habitations  around  the  shores  of  the  lake,  particularly  at  the 
outlet  and  inlet,  and  along  the  inlet  up  to  the  swamp  meadow, 
where  I  met  the  Tlamaths  in  the  winter  of  '43-44,  and  where  we 
narrowly  escaped  disaster. 

Our  arrival  took  them  by  surprise,  and  though  they  received  us 
with  apparent  friendship,  there  was  no  warmth  in  it,  but  a  shyness 
which  came  naturally  from  their  habit  of  hostility. 

At  the  outlet  here  were  some  of  their  permanent  huts.  From  the 
lake  to  the  sea  I  judged  the  river  to  be  about  two  hundred  miles 
long;  it  breaks  its  way  south  of  the  huge  bulk  of  Shastl  Peak  be- 
tween the  points  of  the  Cascade  and  Nevada  ranges  to  the  sea.  Up 
this  river  the  salmon  crowd  in  great  numbers  to  the  lake,  which  is 
more  than  four  thousand  feet  above  the  sea.  It  was  a  bright  spring 
morning,  and  the  lake  and  its  surrounding  scenery  looked  charm- 
ing. It  was  inviting,  and  I  would  have  been  glad  to  range  over  it 
in  one  of  the  Indian  canoes.  The  silent  shores  and  unknown  moun- 
tains had  the  attraction  which  mystery  gives  always.  It  was  all  wild 
and  unexplored,  and  the  uninvaded  silence  roused  curiosity  and 
invited  research.  Indigenous,  the  Indians  like  the  rocks  and  trees 
seemed  part  of  the  soil,  growing  in  a  state  of  rude  nature  like  the 
vegetation,  and  like  it  nourished  and  fed  by  nature.  And  so  it  had 
been  back  to  a  time  of  which  nothing  was  known.  All  here  was  in 
the  true  aboriginal  condition,  but  I  had  no  time  now  for  idling  days, 
and  I  had  to  lose  the  pleasure  to  which  the  view  before  me  invited. 
Mr.  Kern  made  the  picture  of  it  [p.  104]  while  we  were  trading 
with  the  Indians  for  dried  fish  and  salmon,  and  ferrying  the  camp 
equipage  across  the  outlet  in  their  canoes. 

The  Indians  made  me  understand  that  there  was  another  large 
river  [Williamson]  which  came  from  the  north  and  flowed  into 
the  lake  at  the  northern  end,  and  that  the  principal  village  was  at 
its  mouth,  where  also  they  caught  many  fish. 

Resuming  our  journey,  we  worked  our  way  along  between  the 
lake  and  the  mountain,  and  late  in  the  day  made  camp  at  a  run,  near 



where  it  issued  from  the  woods  into  the  lake  and  where  our  animals 
had  good  feed.  For  something  which  happened  afterward,  I  gave 
this  run  the  name  of  Denny's  Branch.  Animals  and  men  all  fared 
well  here. 

May  7. — The  weather  continued  refreshingly  cool.  Our  way  led 
always  between  the  lake  and  the  foot  of  the  mountains,  frequently 
rough  and  blocked  by  decaying  logs  and  fallen  trees,  where  patches 
of  snow  still  remained  in  the  shade,  over  ground  rarely  trodden 
even  by  an  Indian  foot.  In  the  timber  the  snow  was  heavy  and 
naturally  much  heavier  towards  the  summits  and  in  the  passes  of 
the  mountains,  where  the  winter  still  held  sway.  This  year  it  had 
continued  late  and  rough.  In  the  late  afternoon  we  reached  a  piece 
of  open  ground  through  which  a  stream  ran  towards  the  lake.  Here 
the  mountain  receded  a  little,  leaving  a  flat  where  the  woods,  which 
still  occupied  the  ground,  left  us  a  convenient  open  space  by  the 
water,  and  where  there  was  grass  abundant.  On  the  way  along  from 
the  outlet  no  Indians  had  been  seen  and  no  other  sign  of  life,  but 
now  and  then  when  the  lake  was  visible  a  canoe  might  be  seen 
glancing  along.  But  in  the  morning,  as  we  were  about  to  leave  camp, 
a  number  of  them  came  in.  I  could  not  clearly  find  where  they  had 
come  from,  though  they  pointed  up  the  lake.  Perhaps  from  some 
valley  in  the  mountain  on  this  stream,  or  perhaps  they  had  followed 
our  trail.  This  was  most  likely,  but  if  so  they  were  not  willing  to 
tell.  They  would  not  have  done  so  with  any  good  intent,  and  they 
knew  well  enough  that  we  were  aware  of  it.  They  said  that  they 
were  hungry,  and  I  had  some  mules  unpacked  and  gave  them  part 
of  our  remaining  scanty  supply  of  dried  meat  and  the  usual  present 
which  an  Indian,  wild  or  tame,  always  instinctively  expects. 

We  continued  our  route  over  the  same  kind  of  ground,  rendered 
difficult  by  the  obstructions  which  the  wash  of  the  rain  and  snow, 
and  the  fallen  timber,  the  undisturbed  accumulations  of  the  many 
years,  had  placed  in  these  forests.  Crossing  spurs  of  mountains  and 
working  around  the  bays  or  coves  between  the  ridges  or  winding 
among  the  hills,  it  is  surprising  how  a  long  day's  march  dwindles 
away  to  a  few  miles  when  it  comes  to  be  laid  down  between  the 
rigorous  astronomical  stations.  We  had  travelled  in  this  direction 
many  such  days  when  we  encamped  in  the  afternoon  of  the  8th  of 
May.  A  glance  at  the  mountains,  which  are  shown  in  the  view  of 
the  lake,  gives  some  idea  of  the  character  of  this  unexplored  region. 
By  unexplored,  I  wish  to  be  understood  to  say  that  it  had  never  been 


explored  or  mapped,  or  in  any  way  brought  to  common  knowledge, 
or  rarely  visited  except  by  strong  parties  of  trappers,  and  by  those 
at  remote  intervals,  doubtless  never  by  trappers  singly.  It  was  a  true 
wilderness.  There  was  the  great  range  of  mountains  behind  the 
coast,  and  behind  it  the  lakes  and  rivers  known  to  the  trappers,  and 
that  was  all,  and  the  interest  attached  to  it  was  chiefly  from  the 
disaster  which  had  befallen  them.  And  from  their  reports,  rude  and 
exaggerated  outlines,  and  Turtle  Lakes  and  Buenaventura  Rivers, 
had  been  marked  down  at  the  stations  of  the  Fur  Company."  All 
this  gave  the  country  a  charm  for  me.  It  would  have  been  dull  work 
if  it  had  been  to  plod  over  a  safe  country  and  here  and  there  to 
correct  some  old  error. 

And  I  had  my  work  all  planned.  The  friendly  reader — and  I  hope 
that  no  unfriendly  eyes  will  travel  along  with  me  over  these  lines; 
the  friends  may  be  few  and  the  many  are  the  neutral  minds  who 
read  without  reference  to  the  writer,  solely  for  the  interest  they 
find.  To  these  I  write  freely,  letting  the  hues  of  my  mind  color  the 
paper,  feeling  myself  on  pleasant  terms  with  them,  giving  to  them 
in  a  manner  a  life  confession  in  which  I  hope  they  find  interest, 
and  expecting  to  find  them  considerate  and  weighing  fairly,  and 
sometimes  condoning  the  events  as  we  pass  them  in  review.  My 
reading  friend,  then,  who  has  travelled  with  me  thus  far  will  re- 
member that  some  seventeen  months  before  this  time,  in  the  Decem- 
ber of  '43,  in  coming  south  from  the  Columbia,  I  encamped  on  a 
large  savannah,  or  meadow-lake  [Klamath  Marsh],  which  made 
the  southern  limit  of  my  journey.  I  met  there  a  Tlamath  chief  and 
his  wife,  who  had  come  out  to  meet  me  and  share  his  fate,  whether 
good  or  bad,  and  the  chief  had  afterward  accompanied  me  and 
piloted  me  on  my  way  through  the  forest  and  the  snow.  Where  I 
had  encamped  this  night  I  was  only  some  twenty  miles  in  an  air-line 
from  their  village  and  I  was  promising  myself  some  pleasure  in 
seeing  them  again.  According  to  what  the  Indians  at  the  south  end 
of  the  lake  had  told  me,  I  had  only  to  travel  eastward  a  short  march 
and  I  would  find  a  large  village  at  the  inlet  of  the  river,  which  I 
knew  must  be  that  on  which  my  friendly  chief  lived,  some  twenty 
miles  above.  And  his  Indians,  too,  like  all  the  others  along  these 
mountains,  had  the  character  of  normal  hostility  to  the  whites. 

My  plans  when  I  started  on  my  journey  into  this  region  were  to 
connect  my  present  survey  of  the  intervening  country  with  my  camp 
on  the  savannah,  where  I  had  met  the  Tlamaths  in  that  December; 

1 06 

and  I  wished  to  penetrate  among  the  mountains  of  the  Cascade 
ranges.  As  I  have  said,  except  for  the  few  trappers  who  had  searched 
the  streams  leading  to  the  ocean,  for  beaver,  I  felt  sure  that  these 
mountains  were  absolutely  unknown.  No  one  had  penetrated  their 
recesses  to  know  what  they  contained,  and  no  one  had  climbed  to 
their  summits;  and  there  remained  the  great  attraction  of  mystery 
in  going  into  unknown  places — the  unknown  lands  of  which  I  had 
dreamed  when  I  began  this  life  of  frontier  travel.  And  possibly,  I 
thought,  when  I  should  descend  their  western  flanks  some  safe  har- 
bor might  yet  be  found  by  careful  search  along  that  coast,  where 
harbors  were  so  few;  and  perhaps  good  passages  from  the  interior 
through  these  mountains  to  the  sea.  I  thought  that  until  the  snow 
should  go  off  the  lower  part  of  the  mountains  I  might  occupy  what 
remained  of  the  spring  by  a  survey  of  the  Tlamath  River  to  its  heads, 
and  make  a  good  map  of  the  country  along  the  base  of  the  moun- 
tains. And  if  we  should  not  find  game  enough  to  live  upon,  we 
could  employ  the  Indians  to  get  supplies  of  salmon  and  other  fish. 
But  I  felt  sure  that  there  was  game  in  the  woods  of  these  mountains 
as  well  as  those  more  to  the  south.  Travelling  along  the  northern 
part  of  this  range  in  December  of  '43,  I  had  seen  elk  tracks  in  the 
snow,  and  at  an  old  Cayuse  village  in  the  pine  forest  at  the  foot  of 
the  mountains,  only  about  sixty  miles  farther  north,  there  were  many 
deer  horns  lying  around.  This  showed  that  we  should  probably  find 
both  elk  and  deer,  and  bear,  in  the  mountains,  and  certainly  on  the 
slope  towards  the  sea,  where  every  variety  of  climate  would  be  found, 
and  every  variety  of  mast-bearing  trees,  as  in  the  oak  region  of  the 
Sierra  Nevada.  And  I  had  not  forgotten  how  fascinated  I  had  been 
with  the  winter  beauty  of  the  snowy  range  farther  north,  when  at 
sunrise  and  at  sunset  their  rose-colored  peaks  stood  up  out  of  the  dark 
pine  forests  into  the  clear  light  of  the  sky.  And  my  thoughts  took  the 
same  color  when  I  remembered  that  Mr.  Kern,  who  had  his  colors 
with  him,  could  hold  these  lovely  views  in  all  their  delicate  coloring. 
How  fate  pursues  a  man!  Thinking  and  ruminating  over  these 
things,  I  was  standing  alone  by  my  camp-fire,  enjoying  its  warmth, 
for  the  night  air  of  early  spring  is  chill  under  the  shadows  of  the 
high  mountains.  Suddenly  my  ear  caught  the  faint  sound  of  horses' 
feet,  and  while  I  was  watching  and  listening  as  the  sounds,  so 
strange  hereabout,  came  nearer,  there  emerged  from  the  darkness — 
into  the  circle  of  the  firelight — two  horsemen,  riding  slowly  as 
though  horse  and  man  were  fatigued  by  long  travelling.  In  the 


foremost  I  recognized  the  familiar  face  of  Neal,  with  a  companion 
whom  I  also  knew.  They  had  ridden  nearly  a  hundred  miles  in  the 
last  two  days,  having  been  sent  forward  by  a  United  States  officer 
who  was  on  my  trail  with  despatches  for  me;  but  Neal  doubted  if 
he  would  get  through.  After  their  horses  had  been  turned  into  the 
band  and  they  were  seated  by  my  fire,  refreshing  themselves  with 
good  coffee  while  more  solid  food  was  being  prepared,  Neal  told 
me  his  story.  The  officer  who  was  trying  to  overtake  me  was  named 
Gillespie.^'  He  had  been  sent  to  California  by  the  Government  and 
had  letters  for  delivery  to  me.^*'  Neal  knew  the  great  danger  from 
Indians  in  this  country,  and  his  party  becoming  alarmed  and  my 
trail  being  fresh,  Mr.  Gillespie  had  sent  forward  Neal  and  [Levi] 
Sigler  upon  their  best  horses  to  overtake  me  and  inform  me  of  his 
situation.  They  had  left  him  on  the  morning  of  the  day  before,  and 
in  the  two  days  had  ridden  nearly  a  hundred  miles,  and  this  last 
day  had  severely  tried  the  strength  of  their  horses.  When  they  parted 
from  him  they  had  not  reached  the  lake,  and  for  greater  safety  had 
not  kept  my  trail  quite  to  the  outlet,  but  crossed  to  the  right  bank  of 
the  river,  striking  my  trail  again  on  the  lake  shore.  They  had  dis- 
covered Indians  on  my  trail  after  they  had  left  Gillespie,  and  on  the 
upper  part  of  the  lake  the  Indians  had  tried  to  cut  them  off,  and  they 
had  escaped  only  by  the  speed  and  strength  of  their  horses,  which  Neal 
had  brought  from  his  own  rancho.  He  said  that  in  his  opinion  I 
could  not  reach  Gillespie  in  time  to  save  him,  as  he  had  with  him 
only  three  men  and  was  travelling  slow. 

A  quick  eye  and  a  good  horse  mean  life  to  a  man  in  an  Indian 
country.  Neal  had  both.  He  was  a  lover  of  horses  and  knew  a  good 
one;  and  those  he  had  with  him  were  the  best  on  his  rancho.  He  had 
been  sent  forward  by  the  messenger  to  let  me  know  that  he  was  in 
danger  of  being  cut  off  by  the  Indians. 

The  trail  back  along  the  shore  at  the  foot  of  the  mountains  was  so 
nearly  impassable  at  night  that  nothing  could  be  gained  by  attempt- 
ing it,  but  everything  was  made  ready  for  an  early  start  in  the  morn- 
ing. For  the  relief  party,  in  view  of  contingencies,  I  selected  ten  of 
the  best  men,  including  Carson,  Stepp,  Dick  Owens,  Godey,  Basil, 
and  Lajeunesse,  with  four  of  the  Delawares.^' 

When  the  excitement  of  the  evening  was  over  I  lay  down,  specu- 
lating far  into  the  night  on  what  could  be  the  urgency  of  the  mes- 
sage which  had  brought  an  officer  of  the  Government  to  search  so 
far  after  me  into  these  mountains.  At  early  dawn  [9  May]  we  took 


the  backward  trail.  Snow  and  fallen  timber  made  the  ride  hard  and 
long  to  where  I  thought  to  meet  the  messenger.  On  the  way  no  In- 
dians were  seen  and  no  tracks  later  than  those  where  they  had  struck 
Neal's  trail.  In  the  afternoon,  having  made  about  forty-five  miles, 
we  reached  the  spot  where  the  forest  made  an  opening  to  the  lake, 
and  where  I  intended  to  wait.  This  was  a  glade  or  natural  meadow, 
shut  in  bv  the  forest,  with  a  small  stream  and  good  grass,  where  I 
had  already  encamped.  I  knew  that  this  was  the  first  water  to  which 
my  trail  would  bring  the  messenger,  and  that  I  was  sure  to  meet  him 
here  if  no  harm  befell  him  on  the  way.  The  sun  was  about  going 
down  when  he  was  seen  issuing  from  the  wood,  accompanied  by 
three  men. 

He  proved  to  be  an  ofEcer  of  the  navy.  Lieutenant  Archibald  Gil- 
lespie of  the  Marine  Corps.  We  greeted  him  warmly.  All  were  glad 
to  see  him,  whites  and  Indians.  It  was  long  since  any  news  had 
reached  us,  and  every  one  was  as  pleased  to  see  him  as  if  he  had 
come  freighted  with  letters  from  home,  for  all.  It  was  now  eleven 
months  since  anv  tidings  had  reached  me. 

Mr.  Gillespie  informed  me  that  he  had  left  Washington  under 
orders  from  the  President  and  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  and  was 
directed  to  reach  California  by  the  shortest  route  through  Mexico  to 

He  was  directed  to  find  me  wherever  I  might  be,  and  was  in- 
formed that  I  would  probably  be  found  on  the  Sacramento  River.  In 
pursuance  of  his  instructions  he  had  accordingly  started  from  Mon- 
terey to  look  for  me  on  the  Sacramento.  Learning  upon  his  arrival  at 
Sutter's  Fort  that  I  had  gone  up  the  valley,  he  made  up  a  small  party 
at  Neal's  rancho,  and  guided  bv  him,  followed  my  trail  and  had 
travelled  six  hundred  miles  to  overtake  me;  the  latter  part  of  the 
wav  through  great  dangers.^^ 

The  mission  on  which  I  had  been  original Iv  sent  to  the  West  was 
a  peaceful  one,  and  Mr.  Bancroft  had  sent  Mr.  Gillespie  to  give  me 
warning  of  the  new  state  of  affairs  and  the  designs  of  the  President. 
Mr.  Gillespie  had  been  given  charge  of  despatches  from  the  Secre- 
tary of  the  Navy  to  Commodore  Sloat,  and  had  been  purposely 
made  acquainted  with  their  import.^^  Known  to  Mr.  Bancroft  as  an 
able  and  thoroughlv  trustworthy  officer,  he  had  been  well  in- 
structed in  the  designs  of  the  Department  and  with  the  purposes  of 
the  Administration,  so  far  as  they  related  to  California. 

Through  him  I  now  became  acquainted  with  the  actual  state  of 


affairs  and  the  purposes  of  the  Government.  The  information  through 
Gillespie  had  absolved  me  from  my  duty  as  an  explorer,  and  I  was 
left  to  my  duty  as  an  officer  of  the  American  Army  with  the  further 
authoritative  knowledge  that  the  Government  intended  to  take  Cali- 
fornia. I  was  warned  by  my  Government  of  the  new  danger  against 
which  I  was  bound  to  defend  myself;  and  it  had  been  made  known 
to  me  now  on  the  authority  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  that  to  ob- 
tain possession  of  California  was  the  chief  object  of  the  President. 

He  brought  me  also  a  letter  of  introduction  from  the  Secretary  of 
State,  Mr.  Buchanan,  and  letters  and  papers  from  Senator  Benton 
and  family.  The  letter  from  the  Secretary  was  directed  to  me  in  my 
private  or  citizen  capacity,  and  though  importing  nothing  beyond 
the  introduction,  it  accredited  the  bearer  to  me  as  coming  from  the 
Secretary  of  State,  and  in  connection  with  the  circumstances  and 
place  of  delivery  it  indicated  a  purpose  in  sending  it.  From  the  letter 
itself  I  learned  nothing,  but  it  was  intelligibly  explained  to  me  by 
the  accompanying  letter  from  Senator  Benton  and  by  communica- 
tions from  Lieutenant  Gillespie. 

This  officer  informed  me  that  he  had  been  directed  by  the  Secre- 
tary of  State  to  acquaint  me  with  his  instructions,  which  had  for 
their  principal  objects  to  ascertain  the  disposition  of  the  California 
people,  to  conciliate  their  feelings  in  favor  of  the  United  States;  and 
to  find  out,  with  a  view  to  counteracting,  the  designs  of  the  British 
Government  upon  that  country. 

The  letter  from  Senator  Benton,  while  apparently  of  friendship 
and  family  details,  contained  passages  and  suggestions  which,  read 
by  the  light  of  many  conversations  and  discussions  with  himself  and 
others  at  Washington,  clearly  indicated  to  me  that  I  was  required  by 
the  Government  to  find  out  any  foreign  schemes  in  relation  to  Cali- 
fornia and,  so  far  as  might  be  in  my  power,  to  counteract  them.^*^ 

Neal  had  much  to  talk  over  with  his  old  companions  and  pleasur- 
able excitement  kept  us  up  late;  but  before  eleven  o'clock  all  were 
wrapped  in  their  blankets  and  soundly  asleep  except  myself.  I  sat  by 
the  fire  in  fancied  security,  going  over  again  the  home  letters.  These 
threw  their  own  light  upon  the  communication  from  Mr.  Gillespie, 
and  made  the  expected  signal.  In  substance,  their  effect  was:  The 
time  has  come.  England  must  not  get  a  foothold.  We  must  be  first. 
Act;  discreetly,  but  positively. 

Looking  back  over  the  contingencies  which  had  been  foreseen  in 
the  discussions  at  Washington,  I  saw  that  the  important  one  which 


carried  with  it  the  hopes  of  Senator  Benton  and  the  wishes  of  the 
Government  was  in  the  act  of  occurring,  and  it  was  with  thorough 
satisfaction  I  now  found  myself  required  to  do  what  I  could  to  pro- 
mote this  object  of  the  President.  Viewed  by  the  light  of  these  de- 
liberations in  Washington,  I  was  prepared  to  comprehend  fully  the 
communications  brought  to  me  by  Mr.  Gillespie.^^ 

Now  it  was  officially  made  known  to  me  that  my  country  was  at 
war,^"  and  it  was  so  made  known  expressly  to  guide  my  conduct.  I 
had  learned  with  certainty  from  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  that  the 
President's  plan  of  war  included  the  taking  possession  of  California, 
and  under  his  confidential  instructions  I  had  my  warrant.  Mr.  Gil- 
lespie was  directed  to  act  in  concert  with  me.  Great  vigilance  and 
activity  were  expected  of  us  both,  for  it  was  desired  that  possession 
should  be  had  of  California  before  the  presence  in  her  ports  of  any 
foreign  vessel  of  war  might  make  it  inconvenient. 

I  had  about  thought  out  the  situation  when  I  was  startled  by  a 
sudden  movement  among  the  animals.  Lieutenant  Gillespie  had  told 
me  that  there  were  no  Indians  on  his  trail,  and  I  knew  there  were 
none  on  mine.  This  night  was  one  of  two  when  I  failed  to  put  men 
on  guard  in  an  Indian  country — this  night  and  one  spent  on  an 
island  in  the  Great  Salt  Lake.  The  animals  were  near  the  shore  of 
the  lake,  barely  a  hundred  yards  away.  Drawing  a  revolver  I  went 
down  among  them.  A  mule  is  a  good  sentinel,  and  when  he  quits 
eating  and  stands  with  his  ears  struck  straight  out  taking  notice,  it  is 
best  to  see  what  is  the  matter.  The  mules  knew  that  Indians  were 
around,  but  nothing  seemed  stirring,  and  my  presence  quieting  the 
animals  I  returned  to  the  fire  and  my  letters. 

I  saw  the  way  opening  clear  before  me.  War  with  Mexico  was  in- 
evitable; and  a  grand  opportunity  now  presented  itself  to  realize  in 
their  fullest  extent  the  far-sighted  views  of  Senator  Benton,  and 
make  the  Pacific  Ocean  the  western  boundary  of  the  United  States. 
I  resolved  to  move  forward  on  the  opportunity  and  return  forthwith 
to  the  Sacramento  valley  in  order  to  bring  to  bear  all  the  influences  I 
could  command. 

Except  myself,  then  and  for  nine  months  afterward,  there  was  no 
other  officer  of  the  army  in  California.  The  citizen  party  under  my 
command  was  made  up  of  picked  men,  and  although  small  in  num- 
ber, constituted  a  formidable  nucleus  for  frontier  warfare,  and  many 
of  its  members  commanded  the  confidence  of  the  emigration. 

This  decision  was  the  first  step  in  the  conquest  of  California. 


My  mind  having  settled  into  this  conclusion,  I  went  to  my  blan- 
kets under  a  cedar.  The  camp  was  divided  into  three  fires,  and  near 
each  one,  but  well  out  of  the  light,  were  sleeping  the  men  belonging 
to  it.  Close  by  along  the  margin  of  the  wood  which  shut  us  in  on 
three  sides  were  some  low  cedars,  the  ends  of  their  boughs  reaching 
nearly  to  the  ground.  Under  these  we  made  our  beds. 

One  always  likes  to  have  his  head  sheltered,  and  a  rifle  with  a 
ramrod  or  a  branch  or  bush  with  a  blanket  thrown  over  it  answers 
very  well  where  there  is  nothing  better.  I  had  barely  fallen  to  sleep 
when  I  was  awakened  by  the  sound  of  Carson's  voice,  calling  to 
Basil  to  know  "what  the  matter  was  over  there?"  No  reply  came, 
and  immediately  the  camp  was  roused  by  the  cry  from  Kit  and 
Owens,  who  were  lying  together — "Indians."  Basil  and  the  half- 
breed,  Denny,  had  been  killed.  It  was  the  sound  of  the  axe  being 
driven  into  Basil's  head  that  had  awakened  Carson.  The  half-breed 
had  been  killed  with  arrows,  and  his  groans  had  replied  to  Carson's 
call,  and  told  him  what  the  matter  was.  No  man,  with  an  Indian 
experience,  jumps  squarely  to  his  feet  in  a  night  attack,  but  in  an 
instant  every  man  was  at  himself.  The  Delawares  who  lay  near  their 
fire  on  that  side  sprung  to  cover,  rifle  in  hand,  at  the  sound  of  the 
axe.  We  ran  to  their  aid,  Carson  and  I,  Godey,  Stepp,  and  Owens, 
just  as  the  Tlamaths  charged  into  the  open  ground.  The  fires  were 
smouldering,  but  gave  light  enough  to  show  Delaware  Crane  jump- 
ing like  a  brave  as  he  was  from  side  to  side  in  Indian  fashion,  and  de- 
fending himself  with  the  butt  of  his  gun.  By  some  mischance  his 
rifle  was  not  loaded  when  he  lay  down.  All  this  was  quick  work. 
The  moment's  silence  which  followed  Carson's  shout  was  broken  by 
our  rifles.  The  Tlamath  chief,  who  was  at  the  head  of  his  men,  fell 
in  front  of  Crane,  who  was  just  down  with  five  arrows  in  his  body 
— three  in  his  breast.  The  Tlamaths,  checked  in  their  onset  and 
disconcerted  by  the  fall  of  their  chief,  jumped  back  into  the  shadow 
of  the  wood.  We  threw  a  blanket  over  Crane  and  hung  blankets  to 
the  cedar  boughs  and  bushes  near  by,  behind  my  camp-fire,  for  a 
defence  against  the  arrows.  The  Indians  did  not  dare  to  put  them- 
selves again  in  the  open,  but  continued  to  pour  in  their  arrows.  They 
made  no  attempt  on  our  animals,  which  had  been  driven  up  by 
Owens  to  be  under  fire  of  the  camp,  but  made  frequent  attempts  to 
get  the  body  of  their  chief.  We  were  determined  they  should  not 
have  it,  and  every  movement  on  their  part  brought  a  rifle-shot;  a 
dozen  rifles  in  such  hands  at  short  range  made  the  undertaking  too 


hazardous  for  them  to  persist  in  it.  While  both  sides  were  watching 
each  other  from  under  cover,  and  every  movement  was  followed  by 
a  rifle-shot  or  arrow,  I  heard  Carson  cry  out:  "LooI{  at  the  fool.  Loo\ 
at  him,  will  you?"  This  was  to  Godey,  who  had  stepped  out  to  the 
light  of  my  fire  to  look  at  some  little  thing  which  had  gone  wrong 
with  his  gun;  it  was  still  bright  enough  to  show  him  distinctly, 
standing  there — a  fair  mark  to  the  arrows — turning  resentfully  to 
Carson  for  the  epithet  bestowed  on  him,  but  in  no  wise  hurrying 
himself.  He  was  the  most  thoroughly  insensible  to  danger  of  all  the 
brave  men  I  have  known. 

All  night  we  lay  behind  our  blanket  defences,  with  our  rifles 
cocked  in  our  hands,  expecting  momentarily  another  attack,  until 
the  morning  light  enabled  us  to  see  that  the  Indians  had  disap- 
peared. By  their  tracks  we  found  that  fifteen  or  twenty  Tlamaths 
had  attacked  us.  It  was  a  sorrowful  sight  that  met  our  eyes  in  the 
gray  of  the  morning.  Three  of  our  men  had  been  killed:  Basil, 
Crane,  and  the  half-breed  Denny,  and  another  Delaware  had  been 
wounded ;  one-fourth  of  our  number.  The  chief  who  had  been  killed 
was  recognized  to  be  the  same  Indian  who  had  given  Lieutenant 
Gillespie  a  salmon  at  the  outlet  of  the  lake.^^  Hung  to  his  wrist  was 
an  English  half-axe.  Carson  seized  this  and  knocked  his  head  to 
pieces  with  it,  and  one  of  the  Delawares,  Sagundai,  scalped  him.  He 
was  left  where  he  fell.  In  his  quiver  were  forty  arrows;  as  Carson 
said,  "the  most  beautiful  and  warlike  arrows  he  had  ever  seen."  We 
saw  more  of  them  afterward.  These  arrows  were  all  headed  with  a 
lancet-like  piece  of  iron  or  steel — probably  obtained  from  the  Hud- 
son Bay  Company's  traders  on  the  Umpqua — and  were  poisoned  for 
about  six  inches.  They  could  be  driven  that  depth  into  a  pine  tree. 

This  event  cast  an  angry  gloom  over  the  little  camp.  For  the  mo- 
ment I  threw  all  other  considerations  aside  and  determined  to  square 
accounts  with  these  people  before  I  left  them.  It  was  only  a  few 
days  back  that  some  of  these  same  Indians  had  come  into  our  camp, 
and  I  divided  with  them  what  meat  I  had,  and  unpacked  a  mule  to 
give  them  tobacco  and  knives. 

On  leaving  the  main  party  I  had  directed  it  to  gear  up  as  soon  as  the 
men  had  breakfasted  and  follow  my  trail  to  a  place  where  we  had 
encamped  some  days  back.  This  would  put  them  now  about  twenty- 
five  miles  from  us.  Packing  our  dead  men  on  the  mules,  we  started 
to  rejoin  the  main  camp,  following  the  trail  by  which  we  had  come. 
Before  we  had  been  two  hours  on  the  way  many  canoes  appeared  on 


the  lake,  coming  from  different  directions  and  apparently  making 
for  a  point  where  the  trail  came  down  to  the  shore.  As  we  ap- 
proached this  point  the  prolonged  cry  of  a  loon  told  us  that  their 
scout  was  giving  the  Indians  warning  of  our  approach.  Knowing 
that  if  we  came  to  a  fight  the  care  of  our  dead  men  would  prove  a 
great  hindrance  and  probably  cost  more  lives,  I  turned  sharply  off 
into  the  mountain,  and  buried,  or  cached  them  in  a  close  laurel 

With  our  knives  we  dug  a  shallow  grave,  and  wrapping  their 
blankets  round  them,  left  them  among  the  laurels.  There  are  men 
above  whom  the  laurels  bloom  who  did  not  better  deserve  them  than 
my  brave  Delaware  and  Basil.  I  left  Denny's  name  on  the  creek 
where  he  died. 

The  Indians,  thrown  out  by  our  sudden  movement,  failed  in  their 
intended  ambush,  and  in  the  afternoon  we  found  our  people  on  the 
stream  where  we  had  encamped  three  days  before.  All  were  deeply 
grieved  by  the  loss  of  our  companions.  The  Delawares  were  filled 
with  grief  and  rage  by  the  death  of  Crane  and  went  into  mourning, 
blackening  their  faces.  They  were  soothed  somewhat  when  I  told 
them  that  they  should  have  an  opportunity  to  get  rid  of  their  mourn- 
ing and  carry  home  scalps  enough  to  satisfy  the  friends  of  Crane  and 
the  Delaware  nation.  With  blackened  faces,  set  and  angry,  they  sat 
around  brooding  and  waiting  for  revenge. 

The  'camp  was  very  quiet  this  evening,  the  men  looking  to  their 
arms,  rubbing  and  coaxing  them.  Towards  evening  I  went  over  to 
the  Delaware  fire  and  sat  down  among  them.  They  were  sitting 
around  their  fire,  smoking  and  silent.  It  did  not  need  to  speak;  our 
faces  told  what  we  were  all  thinking  about.  After  a  pause  I  said, 
"Swonok  bad  luck  come  this  time.  Crane  was  a  brave.  Good  man, 
too.  I  am  very  sorry."  "Very  sick  here,"  he  said,  striking  his  hand 
against  his  breast;  "these  Delaware  all  sick."  "There  are  Indians 
around  the  camp,  Swonok,"  I  replied.  "Yes,  I  see  him.  Me  and 
Sagundai  and  Charley  gone  out  and  see  him  in  woods."  "How 
many?"  "Maybe  ten,  maybe  twenty,  maybe  more."  "Where  did  they 
go?"  "Up  mountain.  He  not  long  way."  "Listen,  Swonok,  we  kill 
some.  These  same  men  kill  Crane.  How  best  kill  him?"  The  chief's 
eyes  glittered  and  his  face  relaxed,  and  all  the  Delawares  raised 
their  heads.  "You  go  in  morning?  Which  way?"  "Only  three,  four 
mile,  to  creek  which  you  know  over  there,"  said  I  pointing  up  the 
lake;  "next  day,  big  Indian  village."  Swonok  turned  to  Sagundai 


James  Sagundai.  From  a  portrait  in  Fremont's  Memoirs. 


and  the  two  chiefs  spoke  earnestly  together  for  a  few  moments,  the 
others  deeply  interested,  but  gravely  listening  without  speaking. 
"Captain,"  said  Sagundai,  "in  the  morning  you  go  little  way,  stop. 
These  Delaware  stay  here.  Indian  come  in  camp,  Delaware  kill 

In  the  morning,  when  we  were  ready  to  start,  the  Delawares  rode 
out  some  moments  ahead,  halting  after  a  few  hundred  yards  until  we 
came  up;  then,  leaving  their  horses  with  us,  they  returned  on  foot 
and  got  into  a  thicket  among  some  young  pines  near  the  camp 
ground.  We  continued  our  way  and  halted,  no  one  dismounting,  at 
a  little  run  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  distant.  It  was  not  long  before 
the  stillness  was  broken  by  a  scattered  volley,  and  after  that,  noth- 
ing. Shortly  Swonok  came  up.  "Better  now,"  he  said ;  "very  sick  be- 
fore, better  now."  They  had  taken  two  scalps.  The  Tlamaths,  as 
expected,  had  rushed  into  the  camp  ground,  so  soon  as  they  thought 
it  safe,  and  met  the  rifles  of  the  Delawares.  Two  were  killed  and 
others  wounded,  but  these  were  able  to  get  away.  Fortunately  for 
them,  the  cracking  of  a  dry  branch  startled  the  Tlamaths  and  the 
Delawares  were  too  eager  to  shoot  as  well  as  usual.  I  moved  on  about 
three  miles  to  a  stream  where  the  grass  was  good  and  encamped. 
Choosing  an  open  spot  among  the  pines  we  built  a  solid  corral  of 
pine  logs  and  branches.  It  was  six  feet  high  and  large  enough  to 
contain  all  our  animals.  At  nightfall  they  were  driven  into  it,  and  we 
took  up  our  quarters  outside,  against  the  corral ;  the  fires  being  at  a 
little  distance  farther  out  and  lighting  up,  while  they  lasted,  the 
woods  beyond.  I  obtained  observations  which  put  this  camp  in  longi- 
tude 121°  58'  45"  and  latitude  42°  36'  45". 

Continuing  our  route  along  the  lake  we  passed  around  the  ex- 
treme northwestern  bay  and  after  a  hard  day's  march  encamped  in 
the  midst  of  woods,  where  we  built  again  a  corral  for  the  night.  In 
the  morning  there  were  many  canoes  on  the  lake,  and  Indians  had 
been  about  during  the  night,  but  the  lesson  they  had  learned  served 
to  keep  them  warily  aloof  in  daylight.  We  were  not  very  far  from 
the  principal  village  at  the  inlet  which  the  Indians  whom  I  had  met 
when  I  first  reached  the  lake  had  described  to  me;  and  the  arms  be- 
ing all  carefully  examined  and  packs  made  secure,  we  started  for  it. 
When  within  a  few  miles  I  sent  Carson  and  Owens  ahead  with  ten 
men,  directing  them  to  reconnoitre  the  position  of  the  Indians,  but  if 
possible  to  avoid  engaging  them  until  we  could  come  up.  But,  as  we 
neared  the  mouth  of  the  river,  the  firing  began.  The  party  was  dis- 










I— ( 





covered  and  had  no  choice  but  to  open  the  fight,  driving  the  Indians 
who  were  on  this  side  to  the  other  side  of  the  river.  As  I  rode  up  I 
saw  a  dead  Indian  sitting  in  the  stern  of  a  canoe,  which  the  current 
had  driven  against  the  bank.  His  hand  was  still  grasping  the  paddle. 
On  his  feet  were  shoes  which  I  thought  Basil  wore  when  he  was 
killed."''  The  stream  was  about  sixty  yards  wide  and  a  rapid  just 
above  the  mouth  made  it  fordable.  Without  drawing  rein  we  plunged 
in  and  crossed  to  the  farther  side  and  joined  our  men  who  were 
pressed  by  a  large  body  of  Indians.  They  had  abandoned  their  vil- 
lage and  were  scattered  through  a  field  of  sage-brush,  in  front  of  the 
woods.  But  this  time  the  night  was  not  on  their  side  and  the  attack 
was  with  us.  Their  arrows  were  good  at  close  quarters,  but  the  range 
of  the  rifle  was  better.  The  firing  was  too  severe  for  them  to  stand  it 
in  open  ground  and  they  were  driven  back  into  the  pine  woods  with 
a  loss  of  fourteen  killed.  They  had  intended  to  make  a  hard  fight. 
Behind  the  sage-bushes  where  they  had  taken  their  stand  every  In- 
dian had  spread  his  arrows  on  the  ground  in  fan-like  shape,  so  that 
they  would  be  ready  to  his  hand.  But  when  our  close  fire  drove  them 
from  the  brush  they  were  compelled  to  move  so  quickly  that  many 
did  not  have  time  to  gather  up  their  arrows  and  they  lay  on  the 
ground,  the  bright,  menacing  points  turned  toward  us.  Quantities  of 
fish  were  drying,  spread  on  scaffolds,  or  hung  up  on  frames.  The 
huts,  which  were  made  of  tall  rushes  and  willow,  like  those  on  the 
savannah  above,  were  set  on  fire,  and  the  fish  and  scaffolds  were  all 

About  a  mile  from  the  village  I  made  my  camp  on  a  dairiere  in 
the  midst  of  woods,  and  where  were  oaks  intermingled  with  pines, 
and  built  a  strong  corral.  Meantime  I  kept  out  scouts  on  every  side 
and  horses  were  kept  ready  saddled.  In  the  afternoon  Indians  were 
reported  advancing  through  the  timber;  and  taking  with  me  Carson, 
Sagundai,  Swonok,  Stepp,  and  Archambeau,  I  rode  out  to  see  what 
they  were  intending.  Sacramento  knew  how  to  jump  and  liked  it. 
Going  through  the  wood  at  hand-gallop  we  came  upon  an  oak  tree 
which  had  been  blown  down;  its  summit  covered  quite  a  space,  and 
being  crowded  by  the  others  so  that  I  was  brought  squarely  in  front 
of  it,  I  let  Sacramento  go  and  he  cleared  the  whole  green  mass  in  a 
beautiful  leap.  Looking  back,  Carson  called  out,  "Captain,  that 
horse  will  break  your  neck  some  day."  It  never  happened  to  Sacra- 
mento to  hurt  his  rider,  but  afterward,  on  the  Salinas  plain,  he 


brought  out  from  fight  and  back  to  his  camp  his  rider  who  had  been 
shot  dead  in  the  saddle. 

In  the  heart  of  the  wood  we  came  suddenly  upon  an  Indian  scout. 
He  was  drawing  his  arrow  to  the  head  as  we  came  upon  him,  and 
Carson  attempted  to  fire,  but  his  rifle  snapped,  and  as  he  swerved 
away  the  Indian  was  about  to  let  his  arrow  go  into  him;  I  fired,  and 
in  my  haste  to  save  Carson,  failed  to  kill  the  Indian,  but  Sacramento, 
as  I  have  said,  was  not  afraid  of  anything,  and  I  jumped  him  di- 
rectly upon  the  Indian  and  threw  him  to  the  ground.  His  arrow 
went  wild.  Sagundai  was  right  behind  me,  and  as  I  passed  over  the 
Indian  he  threw  himself  from  his  horse  and  killed  him  with  a  blow 
on  the  head  from  his  war-club.  It  was  the  work  of  a  moment,  but  it 
was  a  narrow  chance  for  Carson.  The  poisoned  arrow  would  have 
gone  through  his  body. 

Giving  Sacramento  into  the  care  of  Jacob,  I  went  into  the  lodge 
and  laid  down  on  my  blankets  to  rest  from  the  excitement  of  which 
the  day  had  been  so  full.  I  had  now  kept  the  promise  I  made  to  my- 
self and  had  punished  these  people  well  for  their  treachery;  and 
now  I  turned  my  thoughts  to  the  work  which  they  had  delayed.  I 
was  lost  in  conjectures  over  this  new  field  when  Gillespie  came  in, 
all  roused  into  emotion.  "By  heaven,  this  is  rough  work,"  he  ex- 
claimed. "I'll  take  care  to  let  them  know  in  Washington  about  it." 
"Heaven  don't  come  in  for  much  about  here,  just  now,"  I  said; 
"and  as  for  Washington,  it  will  be  long  enough  before  we  see  it 
again ;  time  enough  to  forget  about  this." 

He  had  been  introduced  into  an  unfamiliar  life  in  joining  me  and 
had  been  surprised  into  continued  excitements  by  the  strange  scenes 
which  were  going  on  around  him.  My  surroundings  were  very  much 
unlike  the  narrow  space  and  placid  uniformity  of  a  man-of-war's 
deck,  and  to  him  the  country  seemed  alive  with  unexpected  occur- 
rences. Though  himself  was  not,  his  ideas  were,  very  much  at  sea. 
He  was  full  of  admiration  for  my  men  and  their  singular  fitness  for 
the  life  they  were  leading.  He  shared  my  lodge,  but  this  night  his 
excitement  would  not  let  him  sleep,  and  we  remained  long  awake; 
talking  over  the  incidents  of  the  day  and  speculating  over  what  was 
to  come  in  the  events  that  seemed  near  at  hand.  Nor  was  there  much 
sleeping  in  the  camp  that  night,  but  nothing  disturbed  its  quiet.  No 
attack  was  made. 

The  night  was  clear  and  I  obtained  observations  here  which  gave 


what  may  be  assumed  for  the  longitude  of  the  outlet  121°  52'  08", 
and  for  its  latitude  42°  41'  30".  To  this  river  [Williamson]  I  gave 
the  name  of  my  friend,  Professor  Torrey,  who,  with  all  the  enthusi- 
asm that  goes  with  a  true  love  of  science,  had  aided  me  in  determin- 
ing the  botany  of  the  country. 

The  next  day  we  moved  late  out  of  camp  and  travelled  to  the 
southward  along  the  lake.  I  kept  the  ground  well  covered  with 
scouts,  knowing  the  daring  character  of  the  Tlamaths.  We  made  a 
short  day's  march  and  encamped  in  woods  and  built  a  corral.  On  the 
following  day  we  continued  the  march,  still  in  the  neighborhood  of 
the  lake,  and  in  the  evening  made  camp  at  its  southeastern  end,  on  a 
creek  to  which  I  gave  the  name  of  one  of  the  Delawares,  We-to-wah. 
Indians  were  seen  frequently  during  the  day.  Observations  placed 
the  mouth  of  this  creek  in  longitude  121°  41'  23",  latitude  42°  21' 
23".  As  had  become  usual  we  made  a  corral  to  secure  the  safety  of 
the  animals.  This  was  our  last  camp  on  the  lake.  Here  I  turned 
away  from  our  comrades  whom  I  had  left  among  the  pines.  But  they 
were  not  neglected.  When  the  Tlamaths  tell  the  story  of  the  night 
attack  where  they  were  killed,  there  will  be  no  boasting.  They  will 
have  to  tell  also  of  the  death  of  their  chief  and  of  our  swift  retalia- 
tion; and  how  the  people  at  the  fishery  had  to  mourn  for  the  loss  of 
their  men  and  the  destruction  of  their  village.  It  will  be  a  story  for 
them  to  hand  down  while  there  are  any  Tlamaths  on  their  lake."^ 

The  pines  in  these  forests  were  mostly  full-grown  trees,  and  for 
many  a  year  our  log  forts  around  the  lake  will  endure,  and  other 
travellers  may  find  refuge  in  them,  or  wonder,  in  the  present  quiet, 
what  had  once  broken  the  silence  of  the  forest.  Making  open  spots 
in  the  woods  where  the  sunshine  can  rest  longest,  the  trees  that  en- 
circle them  will  be  fuller-headed  and  grass  and  flowers  will  be  more 
luxuriant  in  the  protection  of  their  enclosure,  so  that  they  may  long 
remain  marked  places. 

The  next  day  brought  no  unusual  incident.  On  the  day  following 
I  was  travelling  along  a  well-worn  trail  when  I  came  upon  a  fresh 
scalp  on  an  arrow  which  had  been  stuck  up  in  the  path.  Maxwell 
and  Archambeau  were  ahead,  and  in  the  evening  they  reported  that 
riding  along  the  trail  they  met  an  Indian  who,  on  seeing  them,  laid 
down  a  bunch  of  young  crows  which  he  had  in  his  hand,  and  forth- 
with and  without  parley  let  fly  an  arrow  at  Maxwell,  who  was  fore- 
most. He  threw  himself  from  his  horse  just  in  time  to  escape  the 
arrow,  which  passed  over  the  seat  of  his  saddle,  and,  after  a  brief  in- 


terchange  of  rifle-balls  and  arrows,  the  Indian  was  killed  and  his 
scalp  put  up  in  the  trail  to  tell  the  story.  We  were  getting  roughened 
into  Indian  customs. 

Our  route  was  now  among  the  hills  over  ground  where  we  had 
already  just  travelled  in  going  north  and  bordering  the  valley  of  the 
upper  Sacramento,  which,  as  I  have  said,  was  known  to  trappers 
under  the  name  of  Pitt  River,  The  spring  now  gave  its  attraction 
and  freshness  to  the  whole  region.  The  rolling  surface  of  the  hills 
was  green  up  to  the  timbered  ridges  of  the  Cascade  range  which  we 
were  skirting  along;  but,  above,  the  unconquerable  peaks  still  were 
clothed  with  snow,  and  glittered  cool  in  their  solitary  heights. 

Chapter  XIV. 

On  one  of  these  days,  being  hurried  forward  by  rifle-shots  ahead, 
we  found  Owens,  with  Stepp  and  Jacob,  engaged  with  a  party  of  In- 
dians who  had  attacked  them  with  as  little  ceremony  as  the  Indian 
who  had  taken  Maxwell  for  a  mark.  One  of  them  was  left  behind 
when  the  others  took  to  the  thicker  timber.  These  Indians  deserve 
their  reputation  for  daring,  but  their  bravery  is  imprudent  and  un- 
calculating.  Like  tigers,  their  first  spring  is  the  dangerous  one. 

We  were  skirting  still  the  wooded  foot-hills  of  the  great  moun- 
tains, and,  journeying  along,  had  reached  the  head  of  a  rocky, 
wooded  ravine,  down  which  a  trail  that  we  had  been  following  led 
into  a  cafion.  I  was  passing  along  its  edge  when  a  strong  party  of 
Indians  suddenly  issued  from  among  the  rocks  and  timber,  and' 
commenced  an  attack.  They  were  promptly  driven  into  cover  of  the 
wood  and  down  the  ravine  into  the  brush,  with  a  number  wounded. 
One  brave  refused  to  be  dislodged  from  behind  a  rock  in  the  brush 
on  the  side  of  the  ravine,  from  which  he  kept  up  a  dangerous  flight 
of  arrows.  He  had  spread  his  arrows  on  the  ground  and  held  some 
in  his  mouth,  and  drove  back  the  men  out  of  range  for  some  mo- 
ments, until  Carson  crept  around  to  where  he  could  get  a  good  view 
of  him  and  shot  him  through  the  heart.  Carson  gave  the  bow  and 
arrows  to  Mr.  Gillespie.  The  Indians  had  seemed  bent  on  speeding 
their  parting  guest,  but  this  was  the  last  encounter  we  had  with 

Their  ambush  had  been  well  laid.  They  had  thought  we  would 
certainly  follow  the  trail  into  the  cafion,  where,  between  their  arrows 


and  the  rocks  which  they  would  have  hurled  down  upon  us,  we  would 
have  had  a  mauvais  quart  d'heure  [bad  time  of  it]  and  lost  men  as 
well  as  animals.  But  in  a  bad  country  I  usually  kept  clear  of  such 
places,  and  in  all  this  journey,  except  on  the  night  at  Denny's  Creek, 
committed  but  one  imprudence,  which  was  in  passing  along  the 
shore  of  the  lake  where  a  high,  naked  ridge,  its  face  so  literally 
strewed  over  with  jagged  fragments  of  rock  as  to  be  absolutely,  in- 
accessible from  below,  skirted  the  water  for  a  number  of  miles.  The 
Indians  could  have  rained  arrows  and  rock  down  upon  us,  and  we 
could  neither  have  got  at  them  without  great  loss,  nor  got  our  ani- 
mals out  of  the  way.  I  breathed  more  freely  when  I  was  at  the 
end  of  this  pass,  and  felt  mortified  that  I  needed  a  lesson. 

We  were  now  approaching  the  rougher  country  into  which  breaks 
the  point  of  the  last  link  of  the  Sierra  Nevada,  and  at  nightfall  en- 
camped on  its  waters.  We  crossed  the  mountain  upon  a  different 
line,  nearer  to  the  head  of  the  lower  Sacramento  valley,  and,  de- 
scending, entered  into  a  truly  magnificent  forest.  It  was  composed 
mainly  of  a  cypress  and  a  lofty  white  cedar  {Thuya  gigafitea)  one 
hundred  and  twenty  to  one  hundred  and  forty  feet  high,  common  in 
the  mountains  of  California.  All  were  massive  trees,  but  the  cypress 
was  distinguished  by  its  uniformly  great  bulk.^^'  None  were  seen  so 
large  as  are  to  be  found  in  the  coast  mountains  near  Santa  Cruz,  but 
there  was  a  greater  number  of  large  trees — seven  feet  being  a  com- 
mon diameter— carrying  the  bulk  eighty  or  a  hundred  feet  without  a 

At  an  elevation  of  four  thousand  six  hundred  feet  the  temperature 
at  sunset  was  48°  and  at  sunrise  37°.  Oaks  already  appeared  among 
the  pines,  but  did  not  show  a  leaf.  In  the  meadow-marshes  of  the 
forest  grass  was  green,  but  not  yet  abundant,  and  the  deer  were  poor. 
Descending  the  flanks  of  the  mountain,  which  fell  gradually  toward 
the  plain,  the  way  was  through  the  same  deep  forest.  At  the  eleva- 
tion of  about  three  thousand  feet  the  timber  had  become  more  open, 
the  hills  rolling,  and  many  streams  made  pretty  bottoms  of  rich 
grass;  the  black  oaks  in  full  and  beautiful  leaf  were  thickly  studded 
among  the  open  pines,  which  had  become  much  smaller  and  fewer 
in  variety,  and  when  we  halted  near  midday,  at  an  elevation  of  two 
thousand  two  hundred  feet,  we  were  in  one  of  the  most  pleasant 
days  of  early  spring,  cool  and  sunny,  with  a  pleasant  breeze,  amidst 
a  profusion  of  flowers;  many  trees  in  dark  summer  foliage,  and 
some  still  in  bloom.  Among  these  the  white  spikes  of  the  horse- 


chestnut,  common  through  all  the  oak  regions,  were  conspicuous. 
We  had  again  reached  summer  weather,  and  the  temperature  at 
noon  was  70°.  The  plants  we  had  left  in  bloom  were  now  generally 
in  seed,  and  many,  including  the  characteristic  plants,  perfectly  ripe. 

In  the  afternoon  we  descended  to  the  open  valley  of  the  Sacra- 
mento, one  thousand  feet  lower,  where  the  thermometer  was  68° 
at  sunset  and  54°  at  sunrise.  This  was  the  best  timbered  region  that 
I  had  seen,  and  was  the  more  valuable  from  its  position  near  the 
head  of  the  valley  of  the  lower  Sacramento,  and  accessible  from  its 

On  the  24th  of  May  we  reached  again  Lassen's,  and  in  the  evening 
I  wrote  to  Senator  Benton;  a  guarded  letter,^'  chiefly  to  call  the  at- 
tention of  Mr.  Buchanan  to  the  Indians  among  whom  I  had  been 
travelling,  especially  to  the  fact  that  they  were  unfriendly  to  us  but 
friendly  to  the  English,  by  whom  they  were  supplied  with  arms 
from  a  Hudson  Bay's  post"^  on  the  Umpqua  conveniently  near  to 
the  coast.  In  the  vague  condition  of  affairs  until  the  arrival  of  Com- 
modore Sloat,  my  own  movements  depended  upon  circumstances 
and  of  them  I  could  say  but  little. 

MEMOIRS,  470-99. 

1.  JCF's  log  fort  atop  one  of  the  peaks  in  the  Gabilan  Range  was  probably 
not  on  the  one  now  called  Fremont  Peak  but  on  one  two  miles  distant,  known 
as  Hill  2146.  It  is  at  the  head  of  Steinbach  Canyon  and  outside  of  Fremont 
State  Park,  which  was  created  in  1934  (gudde,  114,  citing  Fred  B.  Rogers). 
After  remaining  on  the  peak  three  days,  the  pole  bearing  the  American  flag 
fell  to  the  ground,  and  using  this  as  an  indication  to  his  men  that  it  was 
time  for  them  to  take  up  their  scientific  duties  again  and  be  on  their  way, 
JCF  proceeded  inland  to  the  valley  of  the  San  loaquin.  He  rationalized  that 
he  had  given  Castro  sufficient  time  to  execute  his  threat  of  driving  them  out. 
"Besides,"  he  wrote,  "I  kept  always  in  mind  the  object  of  the  Government  to 
obtain  possession  of  California  and  would  not  let  a  proceeding  which  was 
mostly  personal  put  obstacles  in  the  way"  (memoirs,  460).  Gen.  Jose  Castro 
claimed  a  victory  (Doc.  No.  21),  but  he  made  no  effort  to  attack  or  folloAv 
JCF.  In  fact,  Archibald  Gillespie  reported  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  that 
Castro  had  boasted  to  Henry  Melius  that  he  had  not  intended  to  attack  JCF  but 
had  used  the  circumstances  to  suit  his  purposes  and  to  insure  his  position  in 
Mexico  City  (18  April  1846,  ames  [1],  135-40).  Talbot  expressed  a  similar 
view  of  the  Mexican  general's  personal  motives  when  he  wrote  his  mother 
that  Castro  really  wanted  to  use  the  incident  to  oust  Pio  Pico  as  governor 
(24  July  1846,  DLC — Talbot  Papers).  For  some  time  Larkin  was  unaware 
of  JCF's  movements  and  wrote  the  Secretary  of  State  that  it  was  generally 
supposed  he  had  gone  to  Santa  Barbara,  where  an  American  vessel  had  been 
sent  in  February  by  the  consul  with  funds  and  provisions  for  the  explorer 
(2  April  1846,  larkin,  4:275-77). 

2.  Eliab  Grimes  (d.   1848),  a  native  of  Massachusetts,  was  a   well-known 


Honolulu  merchant  when  he  selected  this  rancho  in  the  Sacramento  Valley 
in  1842.  The  grant  was  confirmed  in  1844,  but  Grimes  preferred  to  spend 
most  of  his  time  in  San  Francisco. 

3.  While  JCF  was  examining  the  lower  Sacramento  Valley,  Talbot  was  sent 
to  San  Francisco  to  buy  supplies  (Talbot  to  Adelaide  Talbot,  24  July  1846, 
DLC — Talbot  Papers;   new  Helvetia  diary,  24   March  and  9   April   1846). 

4.  An  old  friend  of  John  Sutter  and  a  native  of  the  Austrian  Tyrol,  Sebas- 
tian Keyser  was  half-owner  of  the  William  Johnson  rancho  on  Bear  River. 

5.  Peter  Lassen  (1800-1859)  was  a  Dane — not  a  German — who  had  learned 
blacksmithing  before  he  arrived  in  Boston  in  1831.  He  soon  moved  to  St. 
Louis,  went  overland  to  Oregon  in  1839,  and  later  to  California  on  the 
Lausanne.  By  the  end  of  1844  he  was  a  naturalized  Mexican  and  the  grantee 
of  this  rather  isolated  northern  rancho  near  Deer  Creek.  After  JCF's  visit  he 
laid  out  the  village  of  Benton  City  and  tried  unsuccessfully  to  attract  im- 
migrants to  the  area  (swartzlow). 

6.  JCF  had  stayed  at  Lassen's  six  days,  30  March  to  5  April  1846.  As  he  will 
note  later,  he  returned  to  Lassen's  again  on  11  April  and  remained  until  24 
April.  It  was  during  these  stays  at  Lassen's  that  he  reputedly  purchased 
stolen  horses  from  the  Indians,  angering  Sutter  (Sutter  to  Jose  Castro,  13? 
May  1846,  cal.  his.  soc.  docs.,  6:82-83).  Kit  Carson  notes  that  during  their 
stay  at  Lassen's  (he  fails  to  note  that  there  were  two  visits)  "some  Americans 
that  were  settled  in  the  neighborhood  came  in  stating  that  there  were  about 
1000  Indians  in  the  vicinity  making  preparations  to  attack  the  settlements; 
requested  assistance  of  Fremont  to  drive  them  back.  He  and  party  and  some 
few  Americans  that  lived  near  started  for  the  Indian  encampment.  Found 
them  to  be  in  great  force,  as  was  stated.  They  were  attacked.  The  number 
killed  I  cannot  say.  It  was  a  perfect  butchery.  Those  not  killed  fled  in  all 
directions,  and  we  returned  to  Lawson's"  (carson,  101).  Another  of  JCF's 
men  affirms  that  an  attack  was  made  on  the  Indians  in  April  (Thomas  S. 
Martin's  dictated  narrative,  1878,  pp.  13-14,  CU-B),  and  Henry  L.  Ford  said 
that  he  organized  one  of  the  companies  ( Rogers  [1],  29:135). 

The  Memoirs  do  not  mention  this  Indian  slaughter  before  the  trip  to 
Oregon,  and  Thomas  E.  Breckenridge  remembers  it  as  having  occurred  ajter 
the  return  from  Oregon  and  as  having  been  done  by  the  settlers  with  the 
assistance  of  about  half  of  JCF's  men.  They  had  to  slip  "away  from  camp 
quietly  one  by  one"  because  JCF  refused  to  go  on  a  raid  against  the  Indians, 
but  he  did  promise  aid  if  the  settlers  were  attacked.  Although  Breckenridge 
did  not  participate,  he  learned  of  some  of  the  details  and  much  later  wrote, 
"By  noon  the  settlers  were  ready  to  march  against  an  Indian  village  twelve 
miles  away  and  consisting  of  about  150  bucks  and  about  250  squaws  and 
children.  They  arrived  at  the  village  late  in  the  afternoon  and  found  the 
Indians  engaged  in  a  war  dance.  I  think  that  the  fact  of  finding  the  village 
engaged  in  a  war  dance  made  the  settlers  worse  for  the  order  was  to  ask  no 
quarter  and  to  give  none.  The  settlers  charged  into  the  village  taking  the 
warriors  by  surprise  and  then  commenced  a  scene  of  slaughter  which  is  un- 
equalled in  the  West.  .  .  .  There  was  from  120  to  150  Indians  killed  that 
day"  ("Recollections  of  Thomas  E.  Breckenridge,"  p.  56,  MoU).  That  the 
Indians  of  northern  California  were  restless  in  the  spring  of  1846  is  exem- 
plified by  their  burning  a  house  on  Pierson  B.  Reading's  Rancho  Buena- 
ventura (abeloe,  485).  And,  curiously,  an  1856  biography  of  JCF  contains 
a  picture  of  the  charge  upon  the  Indians  at  "Redding's"  rancho  (upham, 
facing  p.  232). 


Both  in  the  memoirs,  502-3,  516-17,  and  in  his  description  of  his 
California  expedition,  JCF  takes  responsibility  for  chastising  the  Indians  after 
the  return  from  Oregon  but  notes  extreme  provocation — in  fact,  he  alleges 
protection  of  the  settlers  against  impending  attack.  "I  then  descended  into 
the  Sacramento  valley  where  I  found  the  American  settlers  in  excitement  & 
alarm.  I  learned  that  General  Castro  had  caused  a  general  rising  of  the 
Indians,  with  the  avowed  object  of  destroying  the  crops  &  farms  of  the 
Americans  &  extirpating  them  from  the  country.  The  settlers  came  to  me  & 
requested  my  protection  &  assistance  which  I  undertook  to  give  them.  Being 
joined  by  about  20  of  them  I  proceeded  to  the  head  of  the  lower  Sacramento 
valley,  where  four  or  five  hundred  Indians  had  gathered  together  and  antic- 
ipating them  in  the  very  act  of  their  descent  on  the  settlements  I  attacked  & 
defeated  &  entirely  dispersed  them"  (JCF's  description  of  his  California 
expedition,  27  June  [1855],  KyLoF — James  Guthrie  Papers). 

If  there  was  a  full-scale  attack  by  JCF's  men  upon  the  Indians  of  Cali- 
fornia in  the  spring  of  1846,  which  is  not  too  clear,  it  was  made  before  the 
trip  to  Oregon.  There  is  little  corroborating  evidence  that  JCF  participated  in 
a  June  war  against  the  Indians.  It  is  possible  that  some  of  his  men  went 
along  on  Sutter's  and  Pierson  B.  Reading's  not  too  successful  expedition 
against  the  Indians  of  the  Mokelumne  between  3  and   7  June   1846   (new 

HELVETIA  DIARY,  41;  DILLON,  240). 

7.  Not  the  present  Mount  Linn  in  Tehama  County  but  another  high  peak 
to  the  west. 

8.  Mount  Shasta  towers  14,162  feet  above  sea  level  in  northern  California; 
at  15,781  feet,  Mont  Blanc  in  France  is  the  highest  mountain  in  the  Alps. 

9.  The  JCF-Preuss  map  of  1848  shows  that  JCF  ascended  the  Sacramento  as 
far  as  a  stream  which  he  called  the  Nozah  River,  presently  known  as  Battle 
Creek.  It  is  south  of  Redding. 

10.  Robert  Barnwell  Rhett  (1800-1876),  formerly  Robert  Barnwell  Smith, 
began  a  legal  career  in  his  home  town  of  Beaufort.  In  1832  he  was  elected 
attorney  general  of  South  Carolina  and  in  1837  was  sent  to  Congress,  where 
he  served  for  more  than  a  decade.  It  was  he  who  in  Aug.  1848  made  the 
presentation  to  JCF  of  an  ornamented  sword  and  belt — gifts  from  the  citizens 
of  Charleston  to  a  son  who  had  done  honor  to  South  Carolina  and  the  nation. 

11.  E.  R.  S.  Canby  was  shot  down  on  11  April  1873  while  attempting  to 
arrange  a  truce  with  the  Modocs,  whom  he  had  been  sent  to  subdue.  In 
1925  the  Lava  Beds  National  Monument  was  established  in  northeastern 
Siskiyou  County  on  the  boundary  of  Modoc  County.  See  heyman  for  a 
biography  of  Canby  and  Murray  for  an  account  of  the  war. 

12.  The  first  official  Hudson's  Bay  Company  trapping  party  to  enter  Alta 
California  was  led  by  Peter  Skene  Ogden,  who  trekked  through  the  north- 
eastern corner  during  his  1826-27  Snake  country  expedition.  In  1829  Alex- 
ander R.  McLeod  had  taken  a  brigade  as  far  south  as  present-day  Stockton, 
and  in  1829-30  Ogden,  who  had  journeyed  down  the  east  face  of  the  Sierra 
Nevada,  came  back  through  the  central  valley  of  California,  taking  a  thou- 
sand pelts  in  the  San  Joaquin  basin  and  exploring  the  Sacramento  from  San 
Francisco  Bay  to  its  headwaters.  The  year  1832  saw  yet  two  more  penetra- 
tions by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company.  Michel  Laframboise  took  a  route  up 
the  Rogue  River  to  its  confluence  with  the  Applegate.  Proceeding  to  Upper 
Klamath  Lake,  he  then  turned  southward  to  the  Pit  River  and  from  there 
into  the  Sacramento  Valley.  Near  the  Marysville  or  Sutter  Buttes  he  was 
joined  by  the  second  expedition,  under  the  command  of  John   Work.   The 


parties  combined  to  forage  for  furs  in  and  around  San  Francisco  Bay,  but  in 
May  1833,  near  Fort  Ross  on  Bodega  Bay,  they  again  separated  and  took 
different  routes  home  to  Fort  Vancouver.  In  his  journal  Work  frequently 
comments  on  the  troublesomeness  of  the  Indians  and  their  theft  of  expedi- 
tion horses  and  traps.  The  Indian  menace  did  not  deter  the  Hudson's  Bay 
Company  from  sending  out  an  occasional  land  expedition  to  hunt  furs  in 
California.  For  journals  of  the  early  expeditions,  see  ogden  and  work;  for 
a  biographical  sketch  of  Laframboise,  see  nunis  [1]. 

13.  JCF  may  be  referring  to  the  attack  on  Jedediah  S.  Smith  and  his  party 
of  trappers  in  1828  by  Indians  of  the  Umpqua  River  region.  Fifteen  men  were 
killed,  but  Smith  and  three  others  escaped. 

14.  It  was  noted  on  p.  125,  n.  12,  that  for  some  time  the  Hudson's  Bay 
Company  had  been  sending  its  fur  brigades  into  southern  Oregon  and  north- 
ern California.  The  1834  Arrowsmith  map  of  British  North  America  might 
be  called  an  Ogden  map,  since  it  represented  Peter  Skene  Ogden's  knowledge 
of  the  West.  Chief  factor  John  McLoughlin  at  Fort  Vancouver  had  relayed 
Ogden's  sketches  to  company  offices  in  England,  which  in  turn  had  sent  them 
to  the  heirs  of  Aaron  Arrowsmith.  The  1838  map  of  Capt.  Washington  Hood 
was  drawn  to  illustrate  the  report  of  Senator  Lewis  F.  Linn  on  a  bill  to 
authorize  the  U.S.  president  to  occupy  the  Oregon  territory.  The  map  was 
said  to  have  been  prepared  "with  much  care  and  labor"  under  the  direction 
of  J.  J.  Abert,  the  chief  of  the  Bureau  of  Topographical  Engineers.  In  reality 
it  was  almost  an  exact  copy  of  the  1834  Arrowsmith  map.  JCF  undoubtedly 
had  access  to  the  Hood  map  as  well  as  to  information  on  Oregon  and 
California  which  the  Charles  Wilkes  expedition  had  acquired  in  1841.  In 
fact,  JCF's  1843-44  survey  had  made  several  contributions  to  the  Wilkes 
maps  of  Oregon  and  California,  which  were  not  published  until  1844  and 
1845.  On  JCF's  own  1845  map  the  Willamette  and  upper  Sacramento  valleys 
and  the  coastal  regions  of  Oregon  and  California  are  blank.  The  Wilkes 
map  of  Oregon  Territory  was  good  for  the  main  Oregon  region  and  indicates 
that  Wilkes  had  access  to  Jedediah  Smith's  1831  map  of  the  West,  and  per- 
haps even  to  one  that  Smith  may  have  drawn  while  wintering  at  Fort 
Vancouver  between  Dec.  1828  and  March  1829.  JCF  is  correct  in  maintaining, 
however,  that  the  region  had  never  been  thoroughly  explored  or  mapped.  For 
a  discussion  of  the  various  maps  mentioned  here,  see  c.  i.  wheat,  2:119-39, 
146-48,  177-78. 

15.  According  to  his  wife,  Archibald  H.  Gillespie  (1813-73),  a  Marine  and 
former  officer  on  the  Bra?idywine,  was  selected  as  confidential  agent  because 
he  had  an  excellent  command  of  Spanish.  After  interviews  with  President 
Polk  and  Secretaries  of  the  Navy  and  State,  Gillespie  left  New  York  in 
November,  crossed  Mexico  in  civilian  garb,  and  journeyed  from  Mazatlan 
to  Monterey  via  Honolulu  in  the  sloop  of  war  Cyane.  On  17  April  he  was 
in  Monterey  harbor  and  in  contact  with  the  American  consul,  Thomas  Oliver 
Larkin,  and  on  the  next  day  delivered  to  him  the  Secretary  of  State's  17 
Oct.  1845  dispatch.  He  had  committed  it  to  memory  and  destroyed  it  before 
reaching  Vera  Cruz,  but  he  now  wrote  it  out  again.  By  this  dispatch  Larkin 
was  appointed  a  "Confidential  Agent  in  California"  and  was  instructed  to 
"exert  the  greatest  vigilance  in  discovering  and  defeating  any  attempts  which 
may  be  made  by  Foreign  Government  to  acquire  a  control"  over  California 
(James  Buchanan  to  Larkin,  17  Oct.  1845,  larkin,  4:44-47).  Buchanan  wrote 
that  if  the  Californians  wished  to  unite  "their  destiny"  with  the  United 
States,   "they   would   be   received   as   brethren."   "Their   true   policy,   for   the 


present,  in  regard  to  this  question,  is  to  let  events  take  their  course,"  unless 
an  attempt  should  be  made  to  transfer  them  to  Great  Britain  or  France. 
Receipt  in  Washington  of  disturbing  news  of  British  activities  in  the  North- 
w^est  and  Mexico  was  allegedly  responsible  for  Gillespie's  mission  and  the 
new  duties  for  Larkin.  From  Monterey,  Gillespie  went  on  to  Yerba  Buena 
(24  April)  and  was  at  Sutter's  Fort  on  28  April  seeking  JCF.  For  a  biog- 
raphy of  Gillespie,  see  marti. 

16.  The  letters  which  Gillespie  had  for  JCF  were  family  letters.  Although 
Benton's  letter  (see  JCF's  reference  to  it  in  Doc.  No.  28)  seems  to  have  led 
him  to  expect  an  important  communique  from  Buchanan,  there  was  only  a 
message  from  the  Secretary  of  State  introducing  Gillespie,  which  read: 

Washington,  November  3,  1845 
Mv  Dear  Sir:  The  bearer  hereof,  Mr.  Archibald  H.  Gillespie,  is  about  to 
visit  the  northwest  coast  of  America  on  business,  and  has  requested  me  to  give 
him  a  letter  of  introduction  to  vou.  This  I  do  with  pleasure,  because  he  is  a 
gentleman  of  worth  and  respectability,  and  is  worthy  of  your  regard.  I  do 
not  deem  it  probable  that  he  will  fall  in  with  you;  but,  if  he  should,  allow  me 
to  bespeak  for  him  vour  friendly  attention.  He  will  be  able  to  communicate  to 
you  information  on  the  health  of  Mrs.  Fremont  and  Col.  Benton  and  his 
family.  From  your  friend,  very  respectfully, 

James  Buchanan 

The  letter  was  printed  in  the  National  Intelligencer,  12  April  1848,  as  a 
part  of  Benton's  speech  on  the  California  Claims,  delivered  in  the  Senate  on 
10  April  1848. 

17.  There  is  a  misplaced  comma  separating  Basil  and  Lajeunesse.  The 
name  was  Basil  Lajeunesse.  Stepp  was  not  with  JCF  but  with  Gillespie's 
small  party  of  six,  which  was  trying  to  overtake  JCF. 

18.  Gillespie  arrived  at  Lassen's  on  1  May  to  find  that  JCF  had  left  eight 
days  earHer.  The  five  men  who  accompanied  him  in  search  of  the  explorer 
were  Lassen,  Stepp,  Neal,  Sigler,  and  Gillespie's  Negro  servant  Ben  Harrison 
(Gillespie  to  Larkin,  24  May  1846,  larkin,  4:393-94). 

19.  Navy  Department  dispatches  dated  24  June  and  17  Oct.  1845  had  in- 
structed Sloat  to  seize  California  in  the  event  of  actual  hostilities  between  the 
United  States  and  Mexico  (DNA-45,  Confidential  LS).  In  letters  of  19  Nov. 
1845  and  17  March  1846  Sloat  acknowledged  receipt  of  the  24  June  instruc- 
tions and  a  copy  of  the  17  Oct.  dispatch  to  Larkin,  the  original  of  which  Stock- 
ton was  carrying  out  on  the  Congress.  Since  Gillespie  felt  it  necessary  to 
memorize  and  destroy  his  copy  of  the  Larkin  dispatch  before  journeying 
across  Mexico,  it  is  doubtful  that  he  retained  any  written  message  when  he 
reached  Sloat  at  Mazatlan  in  February,  but  he  may  have  written  it  out  from 
memory  for  Sloat  as  he  did  later  for  Larkin.  Sloat  wrote  Bancroft,  "Lieut. 
Gillespie  reached  here  some  days  since  and  was  immediately  sent  forward  to 
his  destination  [Monterey  via  Oahu]  agreeable  to  the  verbal  orders  delivered 
me  from  his  Excellency  the  President  of  the  U.  States  and  the  Honl.  Secre- 
tary of  the  Navy."  He  also  added,  "The  Squadron  is  in  fine  order  and  ready 
for  any  service"  (25  Feb.  1846,  DNA-45,  LR,  Commanding  Officers  of 
Squadrons,  Pacific,  1846-47). 

20.  For  a  discussion  of  Benton's  enigmatic  letter  and  JCF's  instructions  or 
lack  of  instructions  from  the  government,  see  the  introduction,  pp.  xxviii-xxxii. 

21.  Thirty   years   earlier   in    the   description    of   his   California    expedition, 


JCF  stated  even  more  succinctly  his  comprehension  of  the  communications 
brought  by  Gillespie.  See  the  introduction,  p.  xxxi.  But  see  also  his  25  July 
1846  letter  to  Benton  (Doc.  No.  52),  in  which  he  implies  that  his  return  to 
the  Sacramento  Valley  was  a  voluntary  one,  i.e.,  that  he  was  not  being 
recalled  by  Gillespie,  and  that  his  participation  in  the  Bear  Flag  movement 
was  of  his  own  responsibility. 

22.  Not  true.  Hostilities  had  actually  begun  on  the  Texas-Mexico  border, 
but  Gillespie  brought  only  the  news  that  war  seemed  imminent. 

23.  Stern  believes  the  attack  on  the  JCF  party  was  made  by  the  Klamath 
Indians  of  the  luhlalonkini  division  rather  than  the  Hot  Creek  Modocs,  to 
whom  Lindsay  Applegate,  the  first  agent  on  the  Klamath  Reservation,  had 
assigned  responsibility  for  the  deed  (stern,  235-37). 

24.  These  were  perhaps  not  Basil  Lajeunesse's  shoes,  if  stern,  236-37,  is 
correct  in  believing  that  JCF's  reprisal  fell  not  upon  his  attackers  but  upon 
Klamaths  of  the  Eukskni  division. 

25.  The  swiftness  of  JCF's  reprisal  did  not  break  the  spirit  of  the  Klamaths. 
Rather,  it  left  a  legacy  of  bitterness  and  was  undoubtedly  a  factor  in  drawing 
them  into  the  hostile  camp  in  the  Molalla  War,  soon  to  follow. 

26.  Present-day  botanists  are  unable  to  identify  this  cypress. 

27.  See  Doc.  No.  28. 

28.  Fort  Umpqua,  a  Hudson's  Bay  Company  post  in  Douglas  County,  Ore. 

23.  Charles  William  Fliigge  to  Fremont 

Monterey  March  26th  1846 
J  C  Fremont  Esqre 
U  S  Army 

Returned  on  this  coast  from  the  Sandwich  Islands,  I  have  been  in- 
formed of  your  visit  to  CaUfornia  which  gives  me  an  opportunity  of 
writing  to  you,  and  of  reminding  you  of  your  business  transaction 
with  me  when  last  we  saw  each  other  on  the  Sacremento.  I  at  that 
time  had  no  idea  that  I  in  vain  should  have  to  wait  two  years,  with- 
out seeing  fulfilled  a  promise  given,  and  made  by  you  to  me,  that  is: 
to  remit  the  amount  of  $1291.93  cts  in  specie,  immeadiately  to  this 
coast,  as  amount  of  your  draft,  for  that  amount  on  Colonel  J.  J. 
Albert  [Abert]  Cheif  of  the  Topografical  at  Washington  City  D.C. 
The  offer  was  made  by  you  spontaniously  at  the  time  when  you 
thought  it  to  be  derogatory  to  the  Credit  of  the  U.S.  and  when  you 
felt  much  offended  at  my  chargeing  a  discount  on  Bills  drawn  by 
you  on  the  Government.  Even  to  my  letters  adressed  to  you,  and 
Colonel  J.  J.  Albert  which  I  sent  by  way  of  Mazatlan  and  Mexico,  I 


have  not  received  the  shortest  answer.  Under  these  circumstances  I 
have  seen  proper  to  consult  T.  O.  Larkin  Esqr  U.S.  Consul  at  this 
place,  and  have  requested  the  favour  of  his  acting  for  me  in  this 
affair.  According  to  this  Gentlemans  views  on  the  subject  I  am  en- 
titled to  add  interest  of  1  per  cent  a  month  from  the  time  the  money 
might  have  been  received  here  and  add  to  the  discount  usual  on  this 
Coast,  in  case  I  should  be  obliged  to  wait  longer  for  the  money.  In 
such  case  I  should  request  the  favour  of  your  deliveri'ng  into  the 
hands  of  the  said  T.  O.  Larkin  Esq,  a  regular  set  of  Bills  of  exchange 
in  my  favour  lawfully  drawn,  and  for  such  sum  as  would  be  pro- 
duced by  adding  to  the  princapal  a/c  $1291.93  cts.  The  interest  at 
1  per  cent  per  month,  and  the  discount  on  your  draft  for  $237.25  I 
have  been  obliged  to  loose  $30.  A  long  serious  illness  which  brought 
me  near  the  grave,  and  later  compelled  me  to  seek  medical  aid  in 
another  part  of  the  world,  has  made  me  feel  the  want  of  this  money 
greatly,  but  now  live  in  hopes  you  will  bring  the  matter  to  a  final 
close.  It  would  be  very  difficult  to  dispose  of  your  drafts,  if  not 
drawn  in  the  above  mentioned  manner,  and  I  therefore  request  the 
favour  of  your  according  to  my  wish.  I  Remain  Sir  With  much  re- 
spect Your  Obedient  Servent, 

(Signed)  C.  W,  Flugge 

[Cover  bears  note:]  The  original  sent  this  day  to  Capt.  Fremont. 
June  1st  1846. 

Printed  in  larkin,  4:265-66.  A  German  emigrant  to  California  in  1841, 
Charles  William  Fliigge  (d.  1852)  had  a  rancho  on  the  Feather  River  and  a 
store  in  Los  Angeles.  He  had  furnished  supplies  to  JCF  on  his  visit  to 
California  in  the  spring  of  1844.  JCF  had  given  him  a  voucher  for  $237.25 
(see  Vol.  1,  Doc.  No.  95,  item  109),  but  the  voucher  for  the  "business  trans- 
action" involving  $1,291.93  has  not  been  found,  although  it  was  drawn  on  the 
chief  of  the  Topographical  Bureau  and  therefore  must  have  been  a  legitimate 
expedition  expenditure. 

24.   Fremont  to  Jessie  B.  Fremont 

Sacramento  River,  (lat.  40°) 
April  1,  1846 

It  is  hard  to  say  when  I  shall  see  you,  but  about  the  middle  of  the 
next  month,  at  latest,  I  will  start  for  home.  The  Spaniards  were 


somewhat  rude  and  inhospitable  below,  and  ordered  us  out  of  the 
country,  after  having  given  me  permission  to  winter  there.  My  sense 
of  duty  did  not  permit  me  to  fight  them,  but  we  retired  slowly  and 
growlingly  before  a  force  of  three  or  four  hundred  men,  and  three 
pieces  of  artillery.  Without  a  shadow  of  a  cause,  the  governor  sud- 
denly raised  the  whole  country  against  me,  issuing  a  false  and  scan- 
dalous proclamation.  Of  course  I  did  not  dare  to  compromise  the 
United  States,  against  which  appearances  would  have  been  strong; 
but,  though  it  was  in  my  power  to  increase  my  party  by  many 
Americans,^  I  refrained  from  committing  a  solitary  act  of  hostility 
or  impropriety.  For  my  own  part,  I  have  become  disgusted  with 
everything  belonging  to  the  Mexicans.  Our  government  will  not 
require  me  to  return  by  the  southern  route  against  the  will  of  this 
government;  I  shall  therefore  return  by  the  heads  of  the  Missouri, 
going  through  a  pass  of  which  your  father  knows,  and  be  at  West- 
port  about  1st  September.  I  go  in  about  two  weeks  through  from  the 
Tlamath  lake  to  the  Walamath  valley,  to  make  a  reconnaissance  of 
the  pass  which  I  mentioned  to  you  before.  Say  many  kind  things  for 
me  to  all  the  family.  Glad  will  I  be  when  finally  we  turn  our  faces 

Printed  in  Niles'  National  Register,  71  (21  Nov.  1846) :190.  It  is  obviously 
an  extract.  An  even  shorter  extract  was  given  to  President  Polk  in  Benton's 
letter  of  9  Nov.  1846,  which  was  printed  in  the  National  Intelligencer,  11 
Nov.  1846.  The  letter  was  written  from  Lassen's,  sixty  miles  above  New 
Helvetia.  On  the  previous  day,  31  March,  JCF  had  written  Larkin  applying 
for  funds;  Larkin  forwarded  them  in  gold  by  a  courier  who  seems  to  have 
been  Samuel  Neal  (new  Helvetia  diary,  4  and  14  April  1846).  While  the 
letter  has  not  been  found,  it  apparently  gave  no  news  about  the  explorer's 
journey  from  the  Monterey  vicinity.  However,  Larkin  understood  from  the 
courier  that  JCF  had  not  seen  a  single  Californian  during  his  journey  from 
the  Gabilan  (Larkin  to  Buchanan,  17  April  1846,  larkin,  4:288-90). 

1.  Larkin  wrote  the  Secretary  of  State  that  JCF  "received  verbal  appUca- 
tions  from  English  and  Americans  to  join  his  party  and  could  have  mustered 
as  many  men  as  the  natives.  He  was  careful  not  to  do  so,  and  although  he 
discharged  five  or  six  of  his  men,  he  took  no  others  in  their  place"  (2  April 
1846,  LARKIN,  4:275-77). 


25.  Fremont  to  James  Clyman 

[April?  1846] 
To  James  Clyman,  Esq. 
at  Yount's  Mills,  California 
Dear  Sir: 

Your  favor  of  the  21st  ultimo^  has  been  received  through  the  kind- 
ness of  Mr.  Flint,  some  time  since,  but  as  the  subject  matter  is  one  of 
the  gravest  importance  I  have  taken  time  to  consider  before  ventur- 
ing upon  a  definite  reply.  I  am  placed  in  a  peculiar  position.  Having 
carried  out  to  the  best  of  my  ability,  my  instructions  to  explore  the 
far  west,  I  see  myself  on  the  eve  of  my  departure  for  home,  con- 
fronted by  the  most  perplexing  complications.  I  have  received  infor- 
mation to  the  effect  that  a  declaration  of  war  between  our  Govern- 
ment and  Mexico  is  probable,^  but  so  far  this  news  has  not  been 
confirmed.  The  California  authorities  object  to  my  presence  here  and 
threaten  to  overwhelm  me.  If  peace  is  preserved  I  have  no  right  or 
business  here ;  if  war  ensues  I  shall  be  out  numbered  ten  to  one  and 
be  compelled  to  make  good  my  retreat  pressed  by  a  pursuing  enemy. 
It  seems  that  the  only  way  open  to  me  is  to  make  my  way  back 
eastward,  and  as  a  military  man  you  must  perceive  at  once  that  an 
increase  of  my  command  would  only  encumber  and  not  assist  my 
retreat  through  a  region  where  wild  game  is  the  only  thing  procur- 
able in  the  way  of  food.  Under  these  circumstances  I  must  make  my 
way  back  alone  and  gratefully  decline  your  offer  of  a  company  of 
hardy  warriors  And  remain  Yours  Respectfully, 

John  C.  Fremont 

Camp  on  Feather  River  [  ?] 
December  19th  1845.  [!]' 

Printed  in  clyman,  193,  from  Ivan  Petroff's  "Abstract  of  Clyman's  Note- 
Book,"  p.  26  (CU-B).  James  Clyman  (1792-1881),  born  in  the  foothills  of 
the  Blue  Ridge  Mountains  of  Virginia,  had  a  varied  and  adventurous  career 
as  surveyor,  Rocky  Mountain  trapper,  and  pioneer  in  Illinois  and  Wisconsin. 
He  emigrated  to  Oregon  in  1844  and  the  next  year  from  Oregon  to  California 
as  a  leader  of  the  McMahon-Clyman  party.  At  the  time  of  the  writing  of  this 
letter,  Clyman  was  preparing  to  return  east  again.  He  would  come  back  to 
California  in  1848  as  guide  to  a  company  of  emigrants,  marry  in  1849,  and 
settle  down  to  farm  life.  In  1846  Clyman's  camp  was  eighteen  miles  from  the 

flour  and  saw  mills  which  George  C.  Yount  had  built  on  his  princely  grant 
in  the  heart  of  the  Napa  Valley  near  present-day  Yountsville. 

1.  Charles  Camp,  the  editor  of  Clyman's  reminiscences  and  diaries,  thinks 
Clyman  wrote  his  letter  to  JCF  on  21  Jan.  1846.  He  had  seen  Isaac  Flint  on 
that  day,  and  JCF  mentions  that  Flint  had  brought  the  letter  to  him.  It  is 
most  likely  that  JCF  wrote  in  April,  his  "21st  ultimo"  meaning  21  March,  the 
date  on  which  Clyman  wrote  in  his  diary  of  JCF's  troubles  at  the  Mission 
San  Juan,  although  JCF  could  not  have  sent  a  letter  from  Lassen's  to  Yount's 
Mills  by  31  March — the  date  on  which  Clyman  was  there — unless  Clyman 
had  been  expected  to  linger  longer  at  his  camp  in  the  Napa  Valley.  Clyman's 
offer  seems  to  have  been  a  genuine  one  to  return  to  the  States  with  JCF  and 
not  a  scheme  for  a  movement  against  the  Californians  (clyman,  192-94, 
198-203).  Isaac  F.  Flint,  from  Wisconsin,  had  come  to  California  in  1845. 
In  the  PIONEER  REGISTER  Bancroft  speculates  that  he  returned  east  with  Cly- 
man in  the  spring  of  1846,  but  Camp  does  not  identify  him  as  a  member  of 
the  eastbound  party  (clyman,  235). 

2.  It  is  difficult  to  explain  this  statement  of  JCF's,  for  Gillespie  did  not 
reach  him  in  Oregon  until  9  May.  It  may  be  that  rumors  of  war  had  been 
gleaned  from  newspapers  sent  by  Larkin  (see  Doc.  Nos.  15  and  30,  8  March 
and  31  May  1846).  If  these  newspapers  did  not  reach  him  at  San  Juan  before 
10  March,  perhaps  he  saw  them  a  few  days  later  at  New  Helvetia. 

3.  The  date  appearing  on  Ivan  PetrofT's  copy  of  JCF's  letter  to  Clyman  is 
obviously  wrong;  possibly  even  the  place  is  incorrect,  although  probably  not. 
JCF  probably  wrote  the  letter  from  his  camp  at  Lassen's  either  between  30 
March  and  5  April  or  between  11  and  24  April,  the  dates  of  his  two  visits  to 
Lassen's.  Although  addressed  to  Clyman  at  Yount's  Mills,  the  letter  may 
actually  have  been  carried  to  Clyman's  camp  on  Bear  River,  a  small  stream 
running  into  Feather  River.  Clyman  was  there  from  16  to  23  April,  complet- 
ing his  preparations  for  the  homeward  journey  and  waiting  for  additions  to 
his  party.  He  may  also  have  waited  for  JCF's  answer  there.  On  23  April  he 
began  ascending  the  mountains  on  his  way  east;  on  24  April  JCF  left 
Lassen's  for  Oregon. 

26.  Fremont  to  William  A.  LeidesdorfT 

Lassen's  farm,  Sacramento  river; 

April  23.  1846 
Dear  Sir, 

Enclosed  you  find  a  draft  for  the  amount  of  your  bill  and  expendi- 
tures made  in  my  favor.  1  shall  start  for  the  States  in  a  few  days  and 
therefore  will  not  have  the  satisfaction  of  a  reply  to  my  late  letters  to 
you,^  as  I  am  informed  that  you  have  left  for  Monterey. 

I  trust  that  on  your  return,  or  thereabouts,  you  will  write  me  a  line 


at  Washington,  and  give  me  the  current  news.  Repeating  my  thanks 
for  your  kindness,  which  I  hope  for  an  occasion  to  reciprocate,  I  am, 
Very  truly  yours, 

J.  C.  Fremont 

ALS,  RC  (CU-B). 

1.  JCF  left  for  Oregon  the  next  day,  his  letters  to  Leidesdorff  have  not  been 


The  Bear  Flag  Revolt 
and  the  Conquest  of  California 

27.  Fremont  to  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin 

Sacramento  river;  May  24,  1846 
My  dear  Sir 

Not  being  able  to  detain  a  present  opportunity  to  write  to  you,  I 
will  beg  you  only  to  forward  the  enclosed  through  some  of  our 
friends  in  Mazatlan,  so  that  it  may  not  be  interrupted.  Please  see  to 
this  for  me.  I  will  write  you  soon  more  at  length  and  acknowledge 
all  favors.  Yours  truly, 

J.  C.  Fremont 

Thorn.  O  Larkin  Esq 

Consul  for  the  United  States  at  Monterey 

Printed  in  larkin,  4:390.  The  enclosure  was  JCF's  letter  to  Benton,  24  May 
1846,  Doc.  No.  28. 

28.   Fremont  to  Thomas  H.   Benton 

Sacramento  River,  (Lat.  40°) 
May  24,  1846 
My  Dear  Sir  : 

Most  unexpectedly,  and  in  a  remote  region  of  the  northern  moun- 
tains, I  had  the  great  pleasure  to  receive  your  letters.  An  express 
from  Mr.  Gillespie  overtook  me,  the  man  being  Neal,  whom  you 


will  remember  as  having  been  left  by  me  here  in  the  last  expedition. 
No  other  man  here  would  have  had  the  courage  and  resolution  to 
follow  us.  I  had  the  good  fortune  to  save  the  lives  of  Mr.  Gillespie 
and  party  from  the  Indians,  In  a  charge  at  night  by  the  Tlamath 
Indians  I  lost  three  men  killed  and  had  one  dangerously  wounded, 
being  then  with  a  detached  party  of  fourteen  men.  You  will  regret 
to  hear  that  among  the  killed  was  my  old  companion,  Basil  Lajeu- 
nesse.  We  afterwards  fought  the  nation  from  one  extremity  to  the 
other,  and  have  ever  since  been  fighting,  until  our  entrance  into  the 
Lower  Sacramento  valley.  I  have  but  a  faint  hope  that  this  note  will 
reach  you  before  I  do;  but  the  object  for  which  I  write  is  a  pressing 
one  and  therefore  I  make  the  experiment. 

The  Tlamath  lake  on  our  last  map  I  find  to  be  only  an  expansion 
of  the  river  above,  which  passes  by  an  outlet  through  a  small  range 
of  mountains  into  a  large  body  of  water  to  the  southward.  This  is 
the  true  Tlamath  lake,  and  the  heart  of  the  Tlamath  nation.  It  is  on 
the  east  side  of  a  range  of  mountains,  (the  Cascade.)  Directly  west, 
and  comparatively  near  at  hand,  is  the  Umpqua  river.  Here  the 
British  have  a  post.  Why  do  they  keep  it  there?  The  trade  in  fur 
will  not  justify  it.  If  there  is  to  be  any  war  with  England,  it  is  of 
great  importance  that  they  should  instantly  be  driven  from  this  and 
similar  posts  before  they  furnish  the  Indians  with  fire  arms,  and 
engage  them  in  their  service.  These  Indians  are  considered  by  the 
Willamette  missionaries  (who  have  been  able  to  have  only  a  slight 
knowledge  of  those  in  the  north)  as  the  most  savage  and  warlike 
Indians  on  the  continent.  So  said  Mr.  Lee.  This  post  maintains  an 
intercourse  with  the  Tlamaths  and  other  mountain  Indians,  and  fur- 
nishes them  with  the  tomahawks  and  iron  arrow-heads,  with  which 
they  fought  us.  They  are  the  bravest  Indians  we  have  ever  seen;  our 
people  (my  camp,  Carson,  &c.)  consider  them  far  beyond  the  Black- 
feet,  who  are  by  no  means  so  daring.  You  know  that  the  Indians 
along  the  line  of  the  Columbia  are  well  supplied  with  fire  arms, 
ammunition,  and  horses — hardly  a  man  having  less  than  forty  or 
fifty  of  the  latter;  that  they  are  brave,  friendly  to  the  British,  and 
unfriendly  to  us.  These  things  may  be  worthy  of  Mr.  Buchanan's 
attention.  Your  letter  led  me  to  expect  some  communication  from 
him,  but  I  received  nothing.  I  shall  now  proceed  directly  home- 
wards, by  the  Colorado,  but  cannot  arrive  at  the  frontier  until  late 
in  September.^  I  saw  a  notice  of  your  illness  in  the  papers,  and  your 
letter  relieved  me  of  much  anxiety.  I  trust  that  I  will  be  able  to  force 


my  way  through  this  rough  voyage,  and  find  all  well  on  the  fron- 
tier. We  certainly  commenced  our  voyage  when  some  malicious  and 
inauspicious  star  was  in  the  ascendant,  for  we  find  enemies  and  diffi- 
culty everywhere.  I  detain  Mr.  Gillespie's  courier  to  write  only  to 
yourself;  believing,  too,  that  when  this  reaches  you  I  shall  be  near 
at  hand.  The  letters  from  home  have  taken  off  half  the  length  of  the 
journey,  and  I  have  courage  now  for  the  rest.  Very  truly  and  repect- 


J.  C.  Fremont 

Printed  in  National  Intelligencer,  11  Nov.  1846.  This  letter  also  appeared 
in  Niles'  National  Register,  71  (21  Nov.  1846):  190-91,  and  memoirs,  499. 
Undoubtedly  portions  were  deleted  before  its  contents  were  made  public. 

1.  JCF's  actions  indicate  that  he  had  no  intention  of  proceeding  "directly 
homewards."  Perhaps  the  statement  was  included  to  mislead  the  Californians 
should  the  letter  fall  into  their  hands. 

29.  Fremont  to  Archibald  H.  Gillespie 

Lassen's  Ranch,  Rio  del  Sacramento 

May  25th  1846 

There  is  required  for  the  Support  of  the  Exploring  party  under 
my  command,  at  present  almost  entirely  destitute,  the  following 
amount  of  Supplies  with  which  I  respectfully  request  that  I  may  be 
furnished  from  the  public  Stores. 

The  unfriendly  disposition  of  this  Government  in  the  present 
doubtful  position  of  affairs  has  made  it  very  difficult  for  me  to  ob- 
tain provisions,  in  any  case  only  to  be  had  at  very  exorbitant  prices; 
and  to  obtain  them  from  our  Squadron  would  materially  aid  the 
surveys  with  which  I  am  charged  and  very  much  expedite  my  re- 
turn to  the  States. 

Lead  (American  rifle)  300  lbs. 

Powder  1  Keg 

Purcussion  Caps  8000 

Russia  Duck  250  yds. 

Flour  5  bbls. 

Sugar  600  lbs. 


CofTee — Tea 



Medicines  (common  cases,  emetics,  purges,  fever  & 

ague  &c) 






300  lbs. 

^  Inch  Rope  for  tent 

30  fathoms 

Iron  for  horse  shoes 

Very  Respectfully  Sir  Your  Obdt.  Servant, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Bt.  Capt.  U.  S.  Topi.  Engineers 
Lt.  Archibald  Gillespie 
U.  S.  Marine  Corps,  Sacramento  River 

LS,  RC  (DNA-45,  Area  9  File,  Pacific).  Endorsed  in  John  B.  Montgomery's 
hand  with  the  note  "Transfered  to  me  with  letter  of  Lieut.  Gillespie  of  June 
9,  46."  Earlier  Gillespie  had  written  Larkin  that  he  was  to  go  to  Yerba  Buena 
to  obtain  the  supplies  for  JCF's  camp  "&  by  so  doing  prevent  any  further 
trouble,"  but  he  cautioned  the  consul  not  to  say  anything  about  his  mission 
(Gillespie  to  Larkin.  "At  Peter  Lassen's,"  24  May  1846.  larkin,  4:393-94). 
On  1  June  Commander  Montgomery  had  received  through  Larkin  a  com- 
munication from  Lieutenant  Gillespie  detailing  the  attack  upon  the  JCF  party 
by  the  Indians,  and  the  Portsmouth  had  thereupon  moved  to  the  Bay  of  San 
Francisco  (duvall,  11-13).  By  7  June  Gillespie  was  at  Yerba  Buena,  his  late 
arrival  having  been  occasioned  by  a  call  at  Dr.  John  Marsh's,  where  he  landed 
some  thirteen  Indians  who  had  been  on  a  visit  to  Sutter's  Fort. 

30.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  to  Fremont 

Consulate  of  the  United  States  of  America 
Monterey  California,  May  31st,  1846 
Captain  J.  C.  Fremont 

Your  letter  of  a  few  lines  I  have  just  received,  also  one  for  Col. 
Benton.^  I  was  very  happy  to  hear  from  you.  I  did  expect  to  have  a 
long  letter  from  you  a  month  back  and  supposed  it  must  have  mis- 
carried. I  have  never  been  able  to  tell  whether  you  received  any 
Newspapers  while  you  were  at  Sn.  John's,  or  package  of  letters  by 


Mr.  Neale.  Did  you  receive  a  duplicate  of  the  letter  the  Californian 
gave  you  when  entrenched  near  the  Sn  John's  Mission,  also  a  copy 
of  my  letter  to  this  Alcalde.  Mr.  Step  gave  them  to  Castro,  who  told 
me  he  forwarded  them  to  you.  "Quien  sabe."  By  two  conveyances  I 
forwarded  to  Hon.  James  Buchanan  all  my  correspondence  respect- 
ing your  afTairs  near  Sn.  John's.  Your  letter  to  me  was  badly  trans- 
lated by  saying,  you  would  give  no  quarter,  in  place  of  asking  none. 
The  same  day  I  had  a  new  one  made  and  sent  to  the  Governor  and 
General.  For  fear  the  latter  should  by  mistake,  send  the  wrong  one, 
I  sent  one  with  Mr.  Hartnells  certificate  of  the  mistake,  to  our  Min- 
ister in  Mexico.  As  he  is  not  there.  Consul  [John]  Black  should  have 
it."  With  it  went  my  request  to  publish  it  in  Mexico,  if  the  wrong 
one  was  made  public.  Your  Californian  business  shall  not  suffer  if  I 
can  prevent  it. 

I  have  been  keeping  some  N.  O.  &  N.  York  papers  for  Come. 
Stockton,  but  cannot  resist  the  opportunity  of  sending  them  to  you. 
In  one  you  will  find  a  pretty  Bee  story  for  your  published  Books  of 
Travels.  In  another  paper  you  will  read  of  a  visit  paid  by  some 
Indians  with  a  long  name  to  Col.  Benton.  Had  a  talk  with  Mrs. 
Fremont,  and  tried  to  make  acquaintance  with  your  child,  but  the 
litde  one  declined  an  introduction  to  his  [her]  Father's  Mountain 
Friends.  One  of  the  papers  contained  a  long  story  of  a  Governor,  who 
it  appeared  married  a  Miss  Frances,  one  of  Col  Benton's  Kinsfolks, 
which  caused  some  trial,  where  Mrs.  Freemont  and  two  sisters  at- 
tended Court  as  witnesses.^  All  the  Herald's  and  other  papers  have 
something  to  say  about  California,  half  of  them  relative  to  the  gal- 
lant Capt.  Fremont  and  Lady.  I  really  think  when  I  see  Washington, 
I  shall  become  acquainted  with  one  I  hear  so  much  of. 

I  thank  you  for  your  former  kind  offer  of  services  when  you  may 
arrive  at  Washington,  yet  know  not  how  I  can  claim  them  at  pres- 
ent. I  have  neither  demands  nor  favour  to  ask  of  our  Government, 
nor  odds,  to  use  a  Western  expression.  What  time  may  require,  time 
must  bring  to  light.  You  are  aware  that  great  changes  are  about 
to  take  place  in  a  country  we  both  are  acquainted  with.  To  aid  this, 
I  am  giving  up  business,  holding  myself  in  readiness  for  the  times  to 
come  and  the  results,  therefore  drawing  myself  into  the  political 
vortex.  This  in  time  may  bring  my  name  too  prominent  forward, 
that  I  may  be  assailed  by  others  at  home  for  their  own  purposes. 
Should  this  ever  happen,  you  may  render  me  service.  I  have  a  rela- 
tion in  Washington,  Mr.  E.  L.  Childs,  P.  O.  Department,  who  writes 


me  in  January,  that  he  ordered  one  of  your  Books  from  Boston  to  be 
sent  to  me,  but  could  not  obtain  it.  I  presume  you  have  it.  If  so, 
please  let  me  have  it,  sending  it  to  W.  A.  Leidesdorflf.  Your  Mes- 
senger arrived  late  tonight.  I  have  many  letters  to  write,  and  am 
tired.  By  my  letter  to  Mr.  Gillespie  wrote  this  morning,  you  have  the 
news  of  the  day."*  If  I  had  time  I  would  enclose  you  a  letter  of  intro- 
duction to  my  Friend  and  Correspondent,  Mr.  Childs,  and  should 
like  to  have  you  call  and  see  him.  Although  you  did  not  mention  it, 
I  suppose  you,  Mr.  Talbot  and  others  of  your  company,  received  the 
letters,  and  yourself  the  public  documents  I  forwarded  by  Mr.  Gilles- 
pie. I  received  Mr.  Talbot's  receipt  for  the  500$  I  sent  by  Mr.  Neale. 

With  this  I  send  to  you  a  letter  I  have  had  some  time  in  my  hands 
from  Charles  W.  Flugge.^  He  went  to  Captain  Sutter's  to  meet  you, 
says  you  ought  to  have  sent  him  out  his  money.  Etc.  He  has  vexed 
me  twice  on  the  subject.  I  always  told  him  you  can  make  your  part 
of  the  affair  correct,  and  I  only  have  one  side  of  it  from  him.  If  the 
story  is  as  Mr.  Flugge  makes  it  and  the  money  is  still  due  him,  and 
should  you  approve  of  it,  you  can  send  to  me  by  carefull  conveyance, 
a  sett  of  drafts  in  his  name  for  the  amount  due  him,  and  he  shall  re- 
ceive them  from  me.  Respecting  the  interest  due  him  from  the  time  it 
could  have  reached  here  via  Cape  Horn,  and  the  discount  on  a  draft, 
you  will  decide  for  yourself.  Of  this  I  know  nothing.  Respecting  his 
small  draft  he  sold,  he  lost  nothing,  as  the  owners  of  drafts  in  Cali- 
fornia, know  they  are  not  in  Cash,  worth  their  face.  Should  the  dis- 
count suit  me  and  you  send  Mr.  Flugge  a  draft,  perhaps  I  may  send 
him,  to  the  Pueblo  de  los  Angeles,  the  cash  for  it. 

Wishing  you  a  speedy,  safe,  and  pleasant  journey  to  our  Capital, 
and  that  from  there,  I  may  here  from  you,  I  am  Sir,  your  most 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 

Printed  in  larkin,  4:409-11. 

1.  See  Fremont  to  Larkin,  24  May  1846,  and  Fremont  to  Benton,  24  May 
1846,  Doc.  Nos.  27  and  28.  JCF  had  sent  the  letters  by  Samuel  Neal,  who 
was  serving  as  Gillespie's  courier.  Neal  made  excellent  time  from  Lassen's 
rancho  to  Monterey.  The  new  Helvetia  diary  recorded  his  arrival  at  Sutter's 
Fort  on  25  May  and  his  immediate  departure.  High  water  forced  him  to 
return  to  the  fort,  but  on  27  May  he  started  again  for  Monterey  by  way  of 
Sonoma  and  reached  Larkin  on  31  May. 

2.  Wilson    Shannon,    the    last    American    minister    to    Mexico    before    the 


break  in  relations  which  preceded  the  Mexican  War,  had  asked  for  his  pass- 
port on  8  May  1845. 

3.  Larkin  is  referring  to  the  marital  problems  of  Sally  McDowell,  a  niece 
of  Thomas  H.  Benton,  who  in  June  1841  had  married  Francis  Thomas 
(1799-1876),  a  man  twenty  years  her  senior.  At  the  time  he  was  a  U.S. 
congressman  from  Maryland,  but  within  a  few  months  he  was  elected  gov- 
ernor of  that  state.  In  1845  Thomas  publicly  charged  his  wife  with  infidelities, 
and  as  a  result  a  libel  suit  was  filed  in  Washington  (U.S.  v.  Thomas)  in 
which  Benton  acted  as  the  family's  manager  and  arranged  for  counsel  to 
assist  the  public  prosecutor.  A  public  meeting  was  held  in  Lexington,  Va.,  to 
testify  to  the  purity  of  Mrs.  Thomas.  Thomas  filed  for  divorce  in  Maryland, 
and  Sally  filed  a  counter  suit  in  Richmond.  Early  in  1846  the  divorce  was 
granted,  and  later  Sally  married  a  Presbyterian  minister  and  Thomas  rehabil- 
itated himself  from  his  "paranoia"  (chambers,  216,  254,  301-3). 

4.  This  letter  to  CTillespie,  1  June  1846  (really  31  May  1846),  must  have 
been   written   several   hours   before   the   arrival   of   Neal    (larkin,   4:407-8). 

5.  See  Flugge  to  Fremont,  26  March  1846,  Doc.  No.  23. 

31.  John  B.  Montgomery   to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 
Bay  of  St.  Francisco  June  3d  1846 

On  the  31st.  ulto.  the  day  previous  to  my  sailing  from  Monterey, 
a  courier  from  Lieut.  Gillespie  to  the  U.  States  Consul  arrived,  bring- 
ing the  only  definite  intehgence  of  your  movement  &  position  since 
my  arrival  at  that  port  on  the  22d.  of  April  last.  The  instructions  un- 
der which  I  am  now  serving,  and  which  may  detain  me  until  late  in 
the  fall,  or  longer  upon  this  coast,  having  relation  specifically  to  the 
object  of  affording  protection  to  the  Persons  &  Property  of  Citizens 
of  the  U.  States  and  of  maintaining  a  watchful  care  over  the  general 
interests  of  our  country,  without  reference  in  any  manner  to  the 
enterprise  in  which  you  are  so  actively  engaged;  the  nature  and 
subject  of  which  I  am  ignorant,  except  so  far  as  I  may  have  been 
rightly  informed  by  paragraphs  casually  met  with  in  public  prints. 
1  beg  leave  however  (availing  myself  of  the  return  Messenger)  to 
assure  you  Sir,  of  the  interest  I  feel  in  the  successful  prosecution  and 
issue  of  the  Public  interests  committed  to  your  direction,  And  without 
desiring  information  further  than  you  may  deem  necessary,  to  en- 
able me  to  aid  &  facilitate  your  operations,  to  express  my  sincere 


John  Berrien  Montgomery.  From  a  portrait  in  the  possession  of 
Montgomery's  great-grandson,  John  M.  Mahon. 


desire  &  readiness  to  serve  you  in  any  manner  consistent  with  other 

Permit  me  to  say  Sir,  that  if  you  should  find  it  convenient  to  visit 
the  U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth  during  her  stay  in  this  port,  that  I  with 
the  officers  of  the  Ship  will  be  most  happy  to  see  you. 

I  shall  remain  here  probably  three  weeks  unless  unforseen  cir- 
cumstances requiring  an  earlier  movement  and  my  present  intention 
is  to  return  to  Monterey.  I  am  Sir,  Very  Respectfully  Your  obt. 

Jno.  B.  Montgomery 


U.  S.  N. 


Capt.  J.  C.  Fremont 

Upper  California 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  no.  22,  Officers'  Letters,  Letterbooks  of  J.  B.  Montgomery), 
[ohn  Berrien  Montgomery  (1794-1873),  scion  of  a  naval  family,  was  in  com- 
mand of  the  Portsmouth  from  10  Nov.  1844  to  6  May  1848.  He  retired  as  a 
captain  in  1861,  but  he  served  throughout  the  Civil  War  as  commodore  on 
shore  duty  and  was  promoted  to  rear  admiral  in  1866.  The  best  biography  of 
this  dedicated  naval  officer,  who  evidenced  much  diplomatic  ability,  is 
ROGERS  [2].  In  the  letter  which  Neal  had  carried  to  Larkin  from  Lassen's 
ranch.  Gillespie  had  written,  "I  send  this  messenger  to  get  such  news  as  you 
have  &  to  give  us  some  information  in  relation  to  the  vessels  of  war — where 
they  are  &  whether  the  Congress  has  arrived.  I  enclose  a  note  from  [for]  the 
Commodore,  which  please  lock  up,  if  he  should  have  sailed"  (Gillespie  to 
Larkin,  24  May  1846,  larkin,  4:393-94).  The  editors  are  unable  to  determine 
which  "Commodore"  Gillespie  was  referring  to — Stockton  of  the  Congress, 
the  vessel  mentioned  in  the  letter;  John  D.  Sloat;  or  John  B.  Montgomery 
(actually  a  commander)  of  the  Portsmouth?  Already  noted  is  the  fact  that 
before  leaving  San  Francisco  for  Sutter's  Fort  in  April,  Gillespie  received 
word  from  Larkin  by  a  fast  rider  that  the  Portsmouth  had  arrived  at 
Monterey  on  22  April  and  that  "Captain  Montgomery  is  of  the  opinion  that 
Commodore  Sloat  may  by  the  next  Mail  (six  or  eight  days)  have  a  declara- 
tion on  the  part  of  the  United  States  against  Mexico  in  which  case  we  shall 
see  him  in  a  few  days  to  take  the  Country"  (Larkin  to  Gillespie,  23  April 
1846,  and  Gillespie  to  Larkin.  Verba  Buena,  25  April  1846,  larkin,  4:340-41, 
346-47).  If  the  JCF-Ciillespie  note  had  been  intended  for  Stockton  or  Sloat, 
Larkin  gave  it  to  Montgomery,  and  it  accounts  for  his  sailing  to  San  Fran- 
cisco harbor  on  1  June  and  anchoring  at  Sausalito,  where  the  Portsmouth 
would  have  land  communications  with  Sonoma. 

1.  Two  phrases  in  this  letter  of  Montgomery  to  JCF  are  striking  and 
immediately  bring  questions  to  mind.  In  what  enterprise  is  JCF  now  en- 
gaged? What  public  interests  are  committed  to  his  direction?  Why  is 
Montgomery  so  ready  to  serve — and  to  serve  apparently  on  instructions  from 


JCF?  In  spite  of  his  declarations  to  Benton  (Doc.  No.  28),  JCF  seems  not  to 
be  planning  to  go  home  immediately. 

2.  The  courier  Samuel  Neal,  who  had  been  on  board  during  the  passage 
of  the  Portsmouth  from  Monterey  to  Sausalito,  left  the  ship  on  3  June  to 
carry  Montgomery's  letter  to  JCF  (duvall,  12). 

32.   John  B.  Montgomery  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 
Bay  of  St.  Francisco  June  10th  1846 

Since  writing  you  by  "Neil"  on  the  3rd.  Inst.  I  have  been  informed 
by  Lieut.  Gillespie  of  your  present  position  and  circumstances;  and 
made  acquainted  with  your  design,  soon  to  proceed  South  with  your 
party  as  far  as  Santa  Barbara;  before  striking  across  the  country  for 
the  U,  States.  I  am  also  informed  by  Lt.  Gillespie  of  your  having  ex- 
pressed to  him  a  desire  for  the  presence  of  a  vessel  of  war  at  St. 
Barbara,  during  the  period  of  your  sojourn  in  the  vicinity  of  that 
port.  Now  Sir,  I  am  happy  to  say,  that  I  feel  myself  at  liberty  to 
visit  any  or  all  the  Ports  upon  this  coast,  should  the  Public  interests 
require  it,  and  and  if  on  receipt  of  this  you  shall  still  think  the 
presence  of  a  Ship  of  War  at  Santa  Barbara  may  prove  serviceable 
to  you  in  carrying  out  the  views  of  our  Government,  and  will  do  me 
the  favor  by  the  return  boat  to  communicate  your  wishes,  with  infor- 
mation as  to  the  time  you  will  probably  reach  that  part  of  the  coast; 
I  will  not  fail  (Providence  permitting)  to  meet  you  there  with  the 

I  feel  gratified  Sir,  in  having  it  in  my  power  to  forward  you  by  Lt. 
Hunter,  the  amount  of  funds  asked  for  in  your  name  by  Lieut.  Gil- 
lespie; with  most  of  the  articles  of  stores  &c.  required  to  meet  the 
demand  of  your  urgent  necessities;  regretting  only,  my  inability  to 
furnish  the  whole.^  You  will  oblige  me  by  signing  the  requisitions  & 
receipts  annexed  to  the  several  invoices  transmitted  by  Lt.  Hunter  & 
with  a  view  to  the  settlement  of  Purser  J.  H.  Watmough's  Accounts 
at  the  Navy  Department."  Be  pleased  to  give  an  order,  or  bill  (in 
duplicate)  on  the  proper  Department  of  Government,  pavable  to 
Purser  Watmough's  order,  to  the  4th.  Auditor  of  the  Treasury  for 


the  aggregate  amount  of  money  &  Pursers  Stores  Supplied.  Articles 
having  no  prices  affixed  need  only  to  be  receipted  for. 

Lieut.  Gillespie  informs  me  that  you  may  find  it  convenient  to 
visit  the  Portsmouth  at  Santa  Barbara  should  we  have  occasion  to  go 
there.  With  this  prospect  in  vieu^  I  beg  leave  again  to  assure  you,  that 
we  shall  all  on  board  be  most  happy  to  see  you.  Very  Respectfully  I 
am  Sir,  Your  Obt.  Servt. 

Jno.  B,  Montgomery 


Capt.  J.  C.  Fremont 

Bt.  Capt.  U.S.  Topi.  Engineers 

Upper  California 

Lbk  (DNA-45.  no.  22,  Officers'  Letters,  Letterbooks  of  J.  B.  Montgomery). 

1.  Lieut.  Benjamin  F.  Hunter  of  the  Portsmouth  later  became  acting 
captain  of  Company  C  in  Stockton's  battalion.  In  addition  to  the  supplies 
listed  in  Doc.  No.  29,  JCF  had  asked  for  $1,500. 

2.  Two  months  later  purser  James  H.  Watmough  was  put  in  command 
of  the  Santa  Clara  garrison,  in  which  capacity  he  made  a  successful  campaign 
against  the  Indians  on  the  Stanislaus. 

33.   Jessie  B.  Fremont  to  Fremont 

June  16,  1846 
My  Dearest  Husband, 

A  Mr.  Magoffin^  says  he  will  be  at  Bent's  Fort  a  month  from  to- 
morrow, and  that  he  will  leave  a  letter  for  you,  so  I  write,  dearest 
husband,  to  tell  you  how  happy  I  have  been  made  by  hearing  of  you 
up  to  the  31st  of  March,  through  Mr.  Larkin.  Only  the  day  before,  I 
had  received  the  Mexican  account  of  your  being  besieged  by  Gen. 
Castro,  and  I  was  much  relieved  by  what  Mr.  Larkin  says — that  you 
could  present  yourself  at  Monterey,  alone,  if  you  wished,  and  not  be 
harmed.  But  I  hope  that  as  I  write  you  are  rapidly  nearing  home, 
and  that  early  in  September  there  will  be  an  end  to  our  anxieties. 
In  your  dear  letter"  you  tell  me  that  le  bon  temps  viendra,  and  my 


faith  in  you  is  such  that  I  believe  it  will  come:  and  it  will  come  to  all 
you  love,  for  during  your  long  absence  God  has  been  good  to  us  and 
kept  in  health  your  mother  and  all  you  love  best.  This  opportunity 
of  writing  only  presented  itself  last  night,  so  that  there  is  not  time 
for  a  letter  from  your  mother  herself,  but  I  had  one  from  her  two 
days  ago  in  which  she  tells  me  that  during  the  warm  weather  she 
will  remain  at  a  place  about  ten  miles  from  Mount  Pleasant.  Her 
stay  in  the  country  did  her  health  much  good  last  fall  and  indeed  it 
has  been  good  generally  throughout  the  winter.  Her  heart  has  been 
made  glad  by  your  brilliant  success,  and  your  late  promotion,  al- 
though it  distressed  her  to  anticipate  more  separations,  could  not  but 
be  most  gratifying  in  many  respects.  You  must  let  me  make  you  my 
heartiest  congratulations.  I  am  sorry  that  I  could  not  be  the  first  to 
call  you  Colonel.  It  will  please  you  the  more  as  it  was  entirely  a  free 
will  offering  of  the  President's,  neither  father  nor  I  nor  anyone  for 
us  having  asked  or  said  we  would  like  it. 

So  your  merit  has  advanced  you  in  eight  years  from  an  unknown 
second  lieutenant,  to  the  most  talked  of  and  admired  lieutenant- 
colonel  in  the  army.  Almost  all  of  the  old  officers  called  to  congratu- 
late me  upon  it,  the  Aberts  among  them,  and  I  have  heard  of  no 
envy  except  from  some  of  the  lower  order  of  Whig  papers  who  only 
see  you  as  Colonel  Benton's  son-in-law.  As  for  your  Report,  its  popu- 
larity astonished  even  me,  your  most  confirmed  and  oldest  wor- 
shipper. Lilly  has  it  read  to  her  (the  stories,  of  course)  as  a  reward 
for  good  behavior.  She  asked  Preuss  the  other  day  if  it  was  true  that 
he  caught  ants  on  his  hands  and  eat  them — he  was  so  amazed  that 
he  could  not  answer  her,  and  she  said,  "I  read  it  in  papa's  lepote;  it 
was  when  you  were  lost  in  California."  Father  absolutely  idolizes 
Lilly;  she  is  so  good  and  intelligent  that  I  do  not  wonder  at  it.  And 
then  you  should  see  his  pride  in  you! 

Mother's  health  has  been  worse  than  ever  during  the  winter,  but 
the  force  of  the  disease  seems  now  to  have  expended  itself,  and  she  is 
quite  well  again.  That  gave  me  a  reason  for  staying  at  home  quietly 
as  I  wished,  and  I  have  read  so  much  that  is  improving  that  you  will 
be  very  pleased  with  me.  Your  mother  was  kind  enough  to  send  me 
your  daguerreotype,  and  it  hangs  over  the  head  of  my  bed  and  is  my 
guardian  angel,  for  I  could  not  waste  time  or  do  anything  you  did 
not  like  with  that  beloved  face  looking  so  kindly  and  earnesdy  at  me.  I 
opened  a  new  history  of  Louisiana,  a  week  or  two  ago,  and  it  com- 
menced with  the  Spanish  discoveries  on  the  southern  part  of  the 


continent.  I  was  by  myself,  Lilly  asleep,  and  reading  by  our  lamp. 
When  I  came  to  De  Soto's  search  for  the  fountain  of  youth,  I 
stopped,  for  it  seemed  as  if  pleasant  old  days  had  returned ;  and  then 
I  remembered  so  well  what  you  once  wrote  to  me  that  I  could  not 
help  bursting  into  tears.  Do  you  remember,  darling? 

It  was  soon  after  we  were  married,  and  you  wrote  me,  "Fear  not 
for  our  happiness;  if  the  hope  for  it  is  not  something  wilder  than  the 
Spaniards'  search  for  the  fountain  in  Florida,  we  will  find  it  yet."  I 
remembered  it  word  for  word,  although  it  was  so  long  since  I  read  it. 
Dear,  dear  husband,  you  do  not  know  how  proud  and  grateful  I  am 
that  you  love  me.  We  have  found  the  fountain  of  perpetual  youth  for 
love,  and  I  believe  there  are  few  others  who  can  say  so.  I  try  very 
hard  to  be  worthy  of  your  love. 

I  had  meant  to  tell  you  of  many  things  which  might  interest,  but 
it  would  take  a  day  to  choose  out  from  the  year's  accumulation.  The 
road  you  have  discovered  is  spoken  of  as  giving  you  more  distinction 
than  anything  you  have  vet  done.  I  had  to  publish  almost  all  your 
letter,  and  like  everything  you  write  it  has  been  reprinted  all  over 
the  country.  I  have  some  beautiful  poetry  to  show  you  on  our  motto 
le  bon  temps  vie^idra.  Editors  have  written  to  me  for  your  biography 
and  likeness,  but  I  had  no  orders  from  you  and  then  you  know  it 
would  look  odd  to  leave  out  your  age,  and  you  never  told  me  how 
old  vou  were  yet. 

How  old  are  you  ?  You  might  tell  me  now  I  am  a  colonel's  wife — 
won't  you,  old  papa  ?  Poor  papa,  it  made  tears  come  to  find  you  had 
begun  to  turn  gray.  You  must  have  suffered  much  and  been  very 
anxious,  "but  all  that  must  pass."  I  am  very  sorry  you  did  not  get  our 
letters.  Yours  gave  so  much  happiness  that  I  grieved  you  could  not 
have  had  as  much  from  ours.  You  will  of  course  come  on  here  as 
soon  as  you  get  back.  I  wanted  to  go  to  St.  Louis  to  meet  you,  but 
father  says  I  had  better  not,  as  it  will  be  very  uncomfortable  and 
even  dangerous  to  go  out  in  the  worst  of  the  season,  and  I  don't 
want  to  be  sick,  for  I  am  not  going  to  let  you  write  anything  but 
your  name  when  vou  get  home.  And  then  we  will  probably  have  to 
be  at  Jefferson  Barracks  during  the  winter  and  until  the  new  regi- 
ment is  ready  for  the  field.  Father  says  you  are  to  accept  the  appoint- 
ment as  it  was  given,  with  the  understanding  that  you  were  to  be 
kept  on  scientific  dutv  under  the  direction  of  the  Senate.  Mr. 
[Daniel]  Webster  savs  it  would  be  too  great  a  loss  to  the  science  of 
the  country  if  you  were  stopped  in  your  onward  course.  If  I  begin 


telling  you  the  sincere  compliments  from  people  whose  names  are 
known  in  Europe  as  well  as  America  I  would  need  a  day. 

You  must  have  a  few  to  think  of,  however.  Edward  Everett,  Mr. 
Gallatin,  Stevens  (Central  America),  Davis,  the  author  of  "Jack 
Downing,"  a  Dr.  Barrett  of  Connecticut,  a  botanist  who  sent  me  his 
herbarium  of  American  grasses  (for  which  he  wants  the  bufifalo  and 
bunch  grasses)  are  among  the  Northern  men.^  The  South  Caro- 
linians claim  you  bodily,  and  Dr.  Grayson^  of  Charleston  wrote 
one  of  the  most  beautiful  of  all  the  notices  I  saw.  Your  early  and 
steady  friends,  Mr.  McCrady  and  Mr.  Poinsett,  were  the  first  to 
whom  I  sent  well-bound  copies  of  your  book.  You  are  ranked  with 
DeFoe  [Daniel  Defoe].  They  say  that  as  Robinson  Crusoe  is  the 
most  natural  and  interesting  fiction  of  travel,  so  Fremont's  report  is 
the  most  romantically  truthful.  I  have  a  letter  from  the  President  of 
the  Royal  Geographical  Society,  Lord  Chichester  [Colchester],^  who 
says  he  could  not  help  preparing  a  paper  on  your  travels  to  be  read 
at  their  meeting — and  more  and  more  and  many  more  of  the  same. 
Mr.  Magoffin  has  come  for  the  letter  and  I  must  stop.  I  have  not 
had  so  much  pleasure  in  a  very  great  while  as  today.  The  thought 
that  you  may  hear  from  me  and  know  that  all  are  well  and  that  I 
can  tell  you  again  how  dearly  I  love  you  makes  me  as  happy  as  I  can 
be  while  you  are  away. 

All  Jacob's  relations  are  well.  I  see  Mrs.  Talbot  and  her  daughter 
constantly.  They  are  so  grateful  to  you  for  your  mention  of  Theo- 

Farewell,  dear,  dear  husband.  In  a  few  months  we  shall  not  know 
what  sorrow  means.  At  least,  I  humbly  hope  and  pray  so. 

Your  own  affectionate  and  devoted  wife, 

Jessie  B.  Fremont 

Printed  in  nevins,  301-4.  Nevins  cites  the  location  of  the  letter  as  the  Ban- 
croft, but  that  library  has  no  record  of  it  (William  M.  Roberts  to  Mary  Lee 
Spence,  26  May  1971). 

1.  James  Wiley  Magoffin  (1799-1868),  a  native  of  Kentucky,  had  long  been 
interested  in  trade  with  Santa  Fe  and  Chihuahua.  He  had  resided  within 
Mexican  territory  for  some  nineteen  years,  spoke  Spanish  fluently,  and  knew 
many  influential  Mexicans.  Benton  introduced  him  to  President  Polk,  and 
when  Magoffin  sped  west  to  Bent's  Fort  with  JBF's  letter,  he  also  carried 
important  ones  to  Kearny  from  Polk  and  the  Secretary  of  War.  As  a  result 
of  these  messages  and  a  conference  with  Magoffin,  Kearny  gave  the  trader  a 
letter  to  Governor  Manuel  Armijo  and  ordered  a  military  escort,  commanded 
by  Capt.  Philip  St.  George  Cooke,  to  accompany  him  to  Santa  Fe  under  a 
flag  of  truce.  By  clever  diplomacy  and  perhaps  bribery,  Magoffin  made  pos- 


sible  a  bloodless  occupation  of  New  Mexico  by  Kearny.  Magoffin  intended  to 
repeat  the  process  in  Chihuahua  for  Gen.  John  E.  Wool,  but  his  previous 
success  imperiled  his  venture.  He  was  captured,  and  only  his  resolution, 
wealth,  and  resourcefulness  enabled  him  to  stay  alive  until  finally  freed  by 
U.S.  troops  (benton  [1],  2:682-84;  clarke,  126-38). 

2.  JCF's  letter  of  24  Jan.  1846  from  Yerba  Buena. 

3.  Most  of  the  "Northern  men"  mentioned  by  JBF  had  national  reputations. 
Edward  Everett  (1794-1865),  Unitarian  clergyman  and  statesman,  had  been 
the  U.S.  minister  to  Great  Britain,  and  at  the  time  of  JBF's  letter  he  was 
president  of  Harvard  University.  Albert  Gallatin  (1781-1849),  former  Secre- 
tary of  the  Treasury  in  both  Jefferson's  and  Madison's  administrations,  would 
seek  information  from  JCF  when  the  latter  returned  from  his  third  expedition 
(Doc.  No.  213).  Noted  for  the  study  of  Mayan  civilization  and  for  volumes 
on  his  travels  in  Central  America  and  Yucatan,  John  Lloyd  Stephens  (1805- 
52)  would  initiate  the  building  of  the  Panama  Railroad.  Various  letter 
writers  used  the  pseudonym  "Major  Jack  Downing,"  which  had  been  orig- 
inated by  Seba  Smith,  but  New  York  businessman  Charles  Augustus  Davis 
(1795-1867)  was  the  most  popular  to  do  so.  At  least  eight  printings  of  his 
Letters  of  J.  Downiiig,  Major,  Downirigville  Militia,  Second  Brigade,  to  His 
Old  Frietid,  Mr.  Dwight,  of  the  New-York^  Daily  Advertiser  were  issued  in 
1834.  Although  both  JBF  and  an  obituary  notice  in  the  New  York  Times  {11 
Jan.  1882)  give  Barrett  as  the  name  of  the  Connecticut  physician,  botanist, 
and  mineralogist,  this  was  actually  the  English-born  Joseph  Barratt. 

4.  Not  a  doctor  but  a  lawyer,  William  John  Grayson  (1788-1863)  was  a 
member  of  an  old  South  Carolina  family.  He  had  been  in  Congress  in  the 
1830s,  but  at  the  time  of  JBF's  letter  he  was  collector  of  the  port  of  Charleston. 
In  the  fifties  he  turned  poet,  both  for  self-expression  and  as  an  apologist  for 
the  South,  with  The  Hireling  and  the  Slave  his  best-known  poem. 

5.  Charles  Abbot  (1798-1867),  Lord  Colchester,  an  officer  in  the  Royal 
Navy,  was  president  of  the  society  from  1845  to  1847. 

34.   Fremont  to  John  B.  Montgomery 

New  Helvetia,  California;  June  16  1846. 

I  had  the  gratification  to  receive  on  the  6th.  your  letter  of  the  3d. 
Inst;  and  the  farther  gratification  to  receive  yesterday  by  the  hands 
of  Lieut.  Hunter  your  favor  of  the  10th.  conveying  to  me  assurances 
of  your  disposition  to  do  any  thing  within  the  scope  of  your  instruc- 
tions to  facilitate  the  public  service  in  which  I  am  engaged.^  In 
acknowledging  the  receipt  of  the  stores  with  which  you  have  sup- 
plied us,  I  beg  you  to  receive  the  earnest  thanks  of  myself  and  party 
for  the  prompt  &  active  kindness,  which  we  are  all  in  a  condition 
fully  to  appreciate.  My  time  today  has  been  so  constantly  engrossed 


that  I  could  make  no  opportunity  to  write,  and  as  it  is  now  nearly 
midnight  you  will  permit  me  to  refer  you  to  Lieut.  Hunter  for  an 
account  of  the  condition  of  the  country,  which  will  doubtless  have 
much  interest  for  you.  The  people  here  have  made  some  movements 
with  the  view  of  establishing  a  settled  &  stable  Government,  which 
may  give  security  to  their  persons  &  property."  This  evening  I  was 
interrupted  in  a  note  to  yourself  by  the  arrival  of  Genl.  Vallejo  and 
other  officers,  who  had  been  taken  prisoners  &  insisted  on  surrender- 
ing to  me.^  The  people  and  authorities  of  the  country  persist  in  con- 
necting me  with  every  movement  of  the  foreigners,  &  I  am  in  hourly 
expectation  of  the  approach  of  Genl.  Castro.'* 

My  position  has  consequently  become  a  difficult  one.  The  unex- 
pected hostilitv  which  has  been  exercised  towards  us  on  the  part  of 
the  military  authorities  of  California  has  entirely  deranged  the  plan 
of  our  survey  &  frustrated  my  intention  of  examining  the  Colorado 
of  the  gulf  of  California,  which  was  one  of  the  principal  objects  of 
this  expedition.  The  suffering  to  which  my  party  would  be  unavoid- 
ably exposed  at  this  advanced  period  of  the  year  by  deprivation  of 
water  during  intervals  of  three  and  four  days,  renders  any  move- 
ment in  that  direction  impracticable. 

It  is  therefore  my  present  intention  to  abandon  the  farther  prosecu- 
tion of  our  exploration  and  proceed  immediately  across  the  moun- 
tainous country  to  the  eastward  in  the  direction  of  the  head  waters  of 
the  Arkansaw  river,  and  thence  to  the  frontier  of  Missouri,  where  I 
expect  to  arrive  early  in  September.  In  order  to  recruit  my  animals 
and  arrange  my  equipage  for  a  long  journey,  I  shall  necessarily  be 
compelled  to  remain  here  untill  about  the  first  of  July.  In  the  mean 
time  should  any  thing  be  attempted  against  me,  I  cannot,  consis- 
tently with  my  own  feelings  and  respect  for  the  national  character  of 
the  duty  in  which  I  am  engaged,  permit  a  repetition  of  the  recent 
insults  we  have  received  from  Genl.  Castro.  If  therefore,  any  hostile 
movements  are  made  in  this  direction,  I  will  most  assuredly  meet  or 
anticipate  them;  and  with  such  intention  I  am  regulating  my  con- 
duct to  the  people  here.  The  nature  of  my  instructions  &  the  peaceful 
nature  of  our  operations,  do  not  contemplate  any  active  hostility  on 
my  part  even  in  the  event  of  war  between  the  two  countries;  and 
therefore  although  I  am  resolved  to  take  such  active  and  precau- 
tionary measures  as  I  shall  judge  necessary  for  our  safety,  I  am  not 
authorized  to  ask  from  you  any  other  than  such  assistance,  as  with- 
out  incurring  yourself  unusual   responsibility,  you  would  feel   at 


liberty  to  afford  me.  Such  an  emergency  could  not  have  been  antici- 
pated in  any  instructions;  but  between  indians  on  the  one  hand  and 
a  hostile  people  on  the  other,  I  trust  that  our  Government  will  not 
severely  censure  any  efforts  to  which  we  may  be  driven  in  defence  of 
oUr  lives  and  character.  In  this  condition  of  things  I  can  only  then 
urgently  request  that  you  will  remain  with  the  Portsmouth  in  the 
Bay  of  San  Francisco,  where  your  presence  will  operate  strongly  to 
check  proceedings  against  us;  and  I  would  feel  much  more  security 
in  my  position  should  you  judge  it  advisable  to  keep  open  a  com- 
munication with  me  by  means  of  your  boats.  In  this  way  you  would 
receive  the  earliest  information,  and  you  might  possibly  spare  us  the 
aid  of  one  of  your  surgeons  in  case  of  accident  here.  Repeating  my 
thanks  for  the  assistance  you  have  rendered  us  and  regretting  my  in- 
ability to  visit  you  on  board  the  Portsmouth,  I  am  Sir,  very  respect- 
fully Your  Obedt.  Servt. 

J.  C.  Fremont 

Bt.  Capt.  Topi.  Engineers 

U.S.  Army 

Capt  Jno.  B.  Montgomery 
U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 
Bay  of  San  Francisco 

ALS,  RC  (DNA-45,  Area  9  File,  Pacific). 

1.  Interesting  accounts  of  the  delivery  of  the  stores  to  ICF  are  to  be  found 
in  DOWNEY,  28-33,  and  duvall,  13-22.  In  addition  to  Lieutenant  Hunter  and 
the  boat's  crew  and  pilot,  the  launch  carried  Gillespie  and  his  servant;  purser 
Watmough;  the  assistant  naval  surgeon  on  the  Portsmouth ,  Marius  Duvall; 
R.  Eugene  Russell,  one  of  ICF's  voyageurs;  and  a  "lawless  Frenchman," 
probably  David  Beauchamp,  who  had  been  discharged  by  fCF  in  February. 

2.  The  "movements"  to  which  fCF  referred  were  two.  On  10  lune  a  party 
of  twelve  or  fourteen  American  settlers,  led  by  Ezekiel  Merritt,  seized  a 
cabaUada  of  horses  as  they  were  being  driven  from  Sonoma  to  Santa  Clara, 
where  lose  Castro  was  organizing  his  forces.  The  rumor  had  spread  that 
they  were  to  be  used  by  him  to  drive  the  American  settlers  from  the  Sacra- 
mento Valley.  Commanding  the  small  horse  guard  of  nearly  a  dozen  Cali- 
fornians  were  Lieut.  Francisco  Arce  and  Lieut.  lose  Maria  Alviso.  The 
Californians  were  permitted  to  continue  their  journey  armed  and  mounted, 
but  the  captured  horses  were  delivered  to  JCF's  camp,  which  he  was  moving 
from  the  Sutter  Buttes  to  the  more  strategic  location  of  his  old  camp  on  the 
American  River.  Four  days  later  (14  lune)  a  group  of  thirty-odd  Americans, 
initially  led  again  by  Ezekiel  Merritt,  captured  undefended  Sonoma,  the 
stronghold  of  Mexican  power  in  the  north.  The  next  day  the  independent 
Bear  Flag  Republic  was  established,  with  William  B.  Ide  in  command.  For 
Larkin's  account  of  these  events,  see  his  letter  to  Foxen  D.  Atherton,  20  luly 


1846,  NUNis  [2].  See  also  Jacob  P.  Leese,  "Bear  Flag  Statement"  (CU-B),  and 

IDE    [2]. 

3.  Gen.  Mariano  G.  Vallejo,  Capt.  Salvador  Vallejo,  and  Lieut.  Col.  Victor 
Prudon  were  taken  prisoner  at  Sonoma  and  incarcerated  at  Sutter's  Fort.  The 
Vallejos'  brother-in-law,  Jacob  P.  Leese,  who  had  accompanied  the  three  as 
interpreter,  was  also  ordered  imprisoned.  Mariano  Guadalupe  Vallejo  (1807- 
90),  secularizer  of  the  Mission  San  Francisco  Solano,  founder  of  the  town 
of  Sonoma,  and  owner  of  large  tracts  of  land  north  of  the  Bay  of  San  Fran- 
cisco, including  Rancho  Petaluma,  was  the  dominant  native  Californian  in 
provincial  affairs  north  of  Monterey.  Although  he  often  warned  the  central 
government  of  the  danger  inherent  in  such  establishments  as  Sutter's  New 
Helvetia,  he  was  more  receptive  to  U.S.  influence  than  European.  Generous 
and  able,  he  was  elected  to  the  constitutional  convention  in  1849  and  to  the 
first  state  senate.  His  brother,  Salvador  Vallejo  (1814-76),  whom  he  had  es- 
tablished at  Sonoma  and  who  was  often  in  command  of  the  post  or  fighting 
Indians,  was  of  a  rougher  nature.  Victor  Prudon,  a  Frenchman  who  had  come 
from  Mexico  to  CaUfornia  in  1834  to  teach,  had  become  Mariano  G.  Vallejo's 
secretary  in  1842  and  was  living  in  Sonoma  when  the  Bear  Flaggers  appeared. 
Jacob  Primer  Leese  (1809-92),  Ohioan  by  birth  and  former  employee  of  Bent, 
St.  Vrain  and  Company,  had  come  to  California  in  1833.  For  a  time  he  was 
in  partnership  with  Nathan  Spear  and  William  S.  Hinckley,  but  a  quarrel 
disrupted  the  alliance.  A  few  years  after  Leese  married  Rosalia  Vallejo,  he 
transferred  his  business  and  residence  to  Sonoma,  becoming  alcalde  in  1844- 
45,  often  quarreling  with  Prudon,  in  turn  never  being  completely  trusted  by 
Mariano  G.  Vallejo,  and  eventually  leaving  his  family.  See  mc  kittrick  and 
TAYs  [3]  for  the  influence  and  interrelationships  of  the  Vallejo  family. 

4.  James  H.  Gleason  wrote  his  uncle,  William  Paty,  in  Oahu,  "It  is  gen- 
erally believed  here  [Monterey]  that  Captain  Fremont  is  the  mover  in  the 
revolution"  (3  July  1846  letter  in  gleason).  Little  wonder  that  Gleason  and 
others  persisted  in  connecting  JCF  with  the  movements  of  the  Americans. 
The  circumstances  of  his  return  to  the  Sacramento  Valley  convinced  many 
Californians  that  he  had  been  called  back  by  Gillespie  and  was  merely  biding 
his  time.  Sutter  wrote  Mariano  G.  Vallejo,  "I  think  Senor  Fremont  has  to 
wait  until  the  arrival  of  the  frigate  Congress,  which  has  Commodore  Stock- 
ton aboard,  to  receive  orders,  in  case  war  is  declared"  (1  June  1846,  cal.  his. 
soc.  DOCS.,  6:185).  JCF  sent  messengers  advising  American  settlers  to  or- 
ganize for  their  mutual  safety.  William  B.  Ide  tells  of  having  received  by  the 
hand  of  an  Indian  "agent"  on  8  June  at  his  cabin  on  Josiah  Belden's  Rancho 
Barranca  Colorada  the  following  unsigned  message:  "  'Notice  is  hereby 
given,  that  a  large  body  of  armed  Spaniards  on  horseback,  amounting  to  250 
men,  have  been  seen  on  their  way  to  the  Sacramento  Valley,  destroying  the 
crops,  burning  the  houses,  and  driving  off  the  cattle.  Capt.  Fremont  invites 
every  freeman  in  the  valley  to  come  to  his  camp  at  the  Butes,  immediately; 
and  he  hopes  to  stay  the  enemy,  and  put  a  stop  to  his' — (Here  the  sheet  was 
folded  and  worn  in-two,  and  no  more  is  found)"  (ide  [2],  30).  Both  of 
Merritt's  "capturing  parties"  had  set  out  from  JCF's  camp,  and  by  the  ex- 
plorer's own  account,  Merritt  was  his  "Field  Lieutenant"  among  the  settlers 
(memoirs,  509),  of  which  there  was  a  constant  flow  to  his  camp.  It  was  not 
until  20  June  that  he  decided  "to  govern  events"  rather  than  "to  be  governed 
by  them"  and  openly  began  participating  in  the  Bear  Flag  movement 
(memoirs,  520).  Here,  in  justice  to  William  B.  Ide,  should  be  mentioned  his 
claim  to  be  the  real  conqueror  of  California.  He  maintained  that  when  the 


Americans  moved  in  on  Sonoma,  the  majority  understood,  because  of  the 
"advice"  of  }CF,  that  their  only  business  was  to  take  certain  principal  men 
prisoner  in  order  to  provoke  Castro  "to  stride  the  first  blow"  in  a  war  with 
the  United  States.  It  was  he  who  rallied  them  to  independence  and  conquest. 
In  fact,  he  contended,  his  plans  were  so  far  carried  out,  before  JCF  under- 
took the  direction  of  affairs,  that  the  subsequent  military  acts  were  needless 
(IDE  [2],  28-46). 

35.  John  B.  Montgomery  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  ship  Portsmouth 
Sau  Solito,  June  23,  1846 

By  Lieut.  Hunter  who  reached  the  ship  on  Saturday  Evening  [20 
June]  from  your  camp,  I  had  the  pleasure  to  receive  your  letter  of 
the  16th  inst.  announcing  the  seasonable  reception  of  the  stores  for- 
w^arded  by  him.  The  last  few  days  have  teemed  with  important 
events ;  pointing  in  my  view,  to  results  momentous  to  the  interests  of 
California  and  our  own  Country.  I  have  determined  to  remain  where 
I  am  at  present,  looking  after  the  interests  of  our  country  and  coun- 
trymen, requiring  to  be  watched  at  this  crisis,  and  readily  comply 
with  your  suggestion  to  keep  open  the  communication  with  your 
camp,  by  means  of  my  boats ;  in  pursuance  of  which  it  is  intended  to 
send  a  boat  in  the  morning  (tomorrow)  in  charge  of  Lieut.  Revere^ 
(who  will  hand  you  this)  and  another  on  Saturday  next,  by  return 
of  which  you  will  be  pleased  to  inform  me,  whether  a  third  boat 
will  be  likely  to  reach  you  at  your  present  camp  or  not.  The  Surgeon 
of  the  Portsmouth  (Doctor  Henderson)  goes  in  the  boat,  with 
orders  to  remain  with  you  until  the  return  of  the  next  boat,  or  longer 
should  you  desire  it.^  Altho  aware  that  the  public  mind  in  California 
was  prepared  for  a  change  of  Government,  I  little  expected  the 
movement  to  take  place  at  this  time  or  in  the  manner  it  has.  The 
capture  of  the  horses  and  the  surprise  at  Sonoma  were  master 
strokes,  but  should  have  been  followed  up  by  a  rush  upon  Santa 
Clara,  where  Castro,  with  the  residue  of  ordnance  &  munitions  in  the 
country,  might  have  been  taken  by  thirty  men  at  any  time  previous 
to  Saturday  Evening.  Castro  must  feel  sensibly  the  loss  of  the  two 
Vallejos  &  Prudon  as  well  as  that  of  the  arms  &  munitions  taken  at 


Mariano  Guadalupe  Vallejo.  From  a  print  in  the  Bancroft  Library. 
Courtesy  of  George  P.  Hammond. 


I  have  exchanged  communications  with  the  commanders  on 
both  sides,  and  others;  preserving  a  strict  neutrality  and  avowing  my 
purpose  of  scrupulously  adhering  to  this  principal;  while  I  confess 
my  sympathies  are  wholly  with  the  gallant  little  band  in  arms  for 
mutual  defence."*  Individuals  and  small  parties  from  this  section 
have  been  joining  the  insurgents  at  Sonoma  daily  I  am  informed, 
and  Lt.  Hunter  brings  intelligence  of  Sutter's  union  with  them.^  An 
irregular  force  of  one  hundred  and  fifty  are  said  to  have  joined  Cas- 
tro at  Santa  Clara  on  Saturday  brought  from  the  vicinity  of  Mon- 
terey by  Emanuel  Castro  the  Sub-Prefect  of  that  place,  and  I  am  just 
informed  that  they  are  expected  to  cross  the  Straits,  and  take  horses 
at  point  St.  Pedro  where  a  number  have  been  collected  for  their  use 
this  evening,  and  move  directly  upon  Sonoma.  If  this  is  the  case  we 
shall  soon  know  the  result. 

I  yesterday  heard  of  the  arrival  of  the  United  States  ship  Cyane  at 
Monterey,  where  the  Congress  is  also  daily  looked  for  from  the  Is- 
lands, where  she  arrived  on  the  13th  of  May.  Not  a  word  of  news 
has  yet  been  received  by  the  Cyane,  but  I  think  she  must  bring  from 
Mazatlan  something  respecting  our  Mexican  concerns. 

I  received  a  letter  from  Castro  a  few  days  since  a  copy  of  which,  as 
it  relates  solely  to  your  imagined  operations,  I  have  thought  it  well 
to  send  you  with  my  reply.*'  Also  two  proclamations  this  moment  re- 

Should  anything  of  consequence  reach  me  from  the  Cyane  before 
sending  the  next  boat,  I  will  not  fail  to  communicate  it  to  you.  In  the 
meantime  permit  me  to  subscribe  myself  Very  Respectfully  Your 
Obt.  Servt., 

Jno.  B.  Montgomery 

To  Capt.  J.  C.  Fremont 
U.  S.  Topi.  Engineers, 
Sacramento,  Upper  California 

N.B. — Since  writing  the  above,  I  have  heard  there  is  no  probability 
of  Castro's  movement  upon  Sonoma  for  several  days;  they  are  using 
great  efforts  to  purchase  arms,  etc. 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  no.  22,  Officers'  Letters,  Letterbooks  of  J.  B.  Montgomery). 

1.  Lieut.  Joseph  Warren  Revere  (1812-80)  would  publish  an  account  of 
his  part  in  the  cont]uest  of  California  in  1849  under  the  title  .7  Tour  of  Duty 
in  California.  Resigning  from  the  Navy  in   1850,  he  became  a   rancher  and 


trader.  When  the  Civil  War  broke  out,  he  became  colonel  of  the  7th  New 
Jersey  Volunteers  and  ultimately  a  brigadier  general. 

2.  Andrew  A.  Henderson  was  assistant  surgeon  on  the  Portsmouth  and  in 
1847  was  surgeon  in  Stockton's  battalion. 

3.  In  his  15  June  1846  letter  addressed  to  Commodore  Stockton,  but 
delivered  to  Commander  Montgomery  by  special  messenger  William  L.  Todd, 
William  B.  Ide  had  written  that  "8  Field  Pieces,  200  stand  of  arms,  a  great 
quantity  of  cannon,  canister  and  Grape  shot,  and  little  less  than  100  lbs.  of 
powder  had  been  captured"  (cal.  his.  soc.  docs.,  1:82-83).  Mariano  G. 
Vallejo's  biographer,  Tays,  maintains  that  the  brass  cannon  were  "small  and 
mostly  unserviceable"  and  the  muskets  "shop  worn  and  out  of  repair"  (tays 
[3],  17:164). 

4.  Mariano  G.  Vallejo  had  immediately  (14  June)  sent  Don  Jose  de  la 
Rosa  to  Montgomery  to  inform  him  of  what  had  happened  at  Sonoma  and 
to  request  that  he  use  his  authority  or  exert  his  influence  to  prevent  the  com- 
mission of  acts  of  violence  by  the  insurgents,  since  they  denied  acting  under 
the  authority  of  the  United  States  and  seemed  to  be  without  an  effective 
leader.  Vallejo  petitioned  Montgomery  to  send  an  officer  or  a  letter  that 
would  save  the  helpless  Sonoma  inhabitants  from  violence  and  anarchy 
(statement  of  the  interview  between  El  Senor  Don  Jose  de  la  Rosa  and  Com- 
mander Montgomery,  by  Lieut.  W.  A.  Bartlett,  cal.  his.  soc.  docs.,  1:79-80). 
On  the  other  side,  William  B.  Ide  sent  William  L.  Todd  with  a  letter  ad- 
dressed to  Commodore  Stockton,  but  delivered  to  Montgomery,  which  re- 
counted the  events  of  10  and  14  June,  justified  the  establishment  of  the  Bear 
Flag  Republic,  assured  that  private  property  would  be  protected,  and  ex- 
pressed an  earnest  desire  "to  embrace  the  first  opportunity  to  unite  our 
adopted  and  rescued  country,  to  the  country  of  our  early  home"  (copy  of 
William  B.  Ide's  letter,  15  June  1846,  cal.  his.  soc.  docs.,  1:82-83). 

5.  Sutter's  union  with  the  Bear  Flaggers  was  not  an  enthusiastic  one,  but 
he  did  agree  to  man  and  prepare  his  fort  for  the  coming  events.  However,  his 
hospitable  treatment  of  his  distinguished  California  prisoners  irritated  JCF, 
and  soon  the  command  of  the  fort  was  entrusted  to  Edward  M.  Kern,  the 
artist  and  topographer  of  the  expedition. 

6.  In  his  letter  of  17  June  1846  Gen.  Jose  Castro  had  asked  Montgomery  for 
an  explanation  of  JCF's  conduct  in  invading  California,  taking  possession  of 
the  military  post  of  Sonoma,  and  imprisoning  the  commander  and  some 
residents  of  the  post.  He  termed  these  "scandalous  and  unwarrantable 
offences."  In  his  reply  of  the  next  day  Montgomery  assured  Castro  of  his 
"entire  conviction"  that  JCF's  visit  had  reference  only  to  "scientific  re- 
searches" and  was  in  no  manner  whatever,  "either  by  authority  of  the  United 
States  Government  or  otherwise,"  connected  with  the  movement  against 
Sonoma.  He  referred  to  the  unjustifiable  and  "gratuitous"  demonstration 
against  JCF  in  March  and  regretted  that  Castro  had  fallen  into  error  a 
"second  time."  Furthermore,  he  pointed  out  that  to  charge  JCF  with  cooperat- 
ing in  the  Sonoma  affair  was  to  impugn  the  integrity  of  the  U.S.  government 
(both  letters  in  cal.  his.  soc.  docs.,  2:69-71). 

7.  The  proclamations  which  Montgomery  forwarded  to  JCF  were  probably 
the  two  issued  by  Jose  Castro  from  Santa  Clara  on  17  June  1846  and  ordered 
"published,  circulated,  and  fixed  in  the  customary  conspicuous  places"  by 
the  alcalde.  One  called  upon  Castro's  countrymen  to  sacrifice  themselves  in 
the  defense  of  liberty,  independence,  and  "the  true  religion  possessed  by  our 
fathers,"  and  the  second  assured  protection  to  foreigners,  provided  "they  mix 


in  no  revolutionary  movements."  Larkin  forwarded  copies  to  the  Secretary 
of  State  in  his  24  June  1846  letter,  no.  50b.  They  are  also  nos.  29  and  30 
in  the  report  which  he  sent  with  his  letter  of  20  July  1846. 

36.  Fremont's  Commission  as  Lieutenant  Colonel 

[26  June  1846] 

The  President  of  the  United  States  of  America,  To  All  Who 
Shall  See  These  Presents,  Greeting: 

Know  Ye,  that  reposing  special  trust  and  confidence  in  the  patrio- 
tism, valor,  fidelity  and  abilities  of  John  C.  Fremont,  I  have  nomi- 
nated, and  by  and  with  the  advice  and  consent  of  the  Senate,  Do 
Appoint  him  Lieutenant  Colonel  in  the  Regiment  of  Mounted  Rifle- 
men, in  the  service  of  the  United  States:  to  rank  as  such  from  the 
twenty  seventh  day  of  May,  eighteen  hundred  and  forty  six.  He  is 
therefore  carefully  and  diligently  to  discharge  the  duty  of  Lieutenant 
Colonel,  by  doing  and  performing  all  manner  of  things  thereunto 
belonging.  And  I  do  strictly  charge,  and  require  all  Ofhcers  and 
Soldiers  under  his  command  to  be  obedient  to  his  orders  as  Lieuten- 
ant Colonel.  And  he  is  to  observe  and  follow  such  orders  and  direc- 
tions, from  time  to  time,  as  he  shall  receive  from  me,  or  the  future 
President  of  the  United  States  of  America,  or  the  General  or  other 
superior  Officers  set  over  him,  according  to  the  rules  and  discipline 
of  War.  This  Commission  to  continue  in  force  during  the  pleasure 
of  the  President  of  the  United  States,  for  the  time  being. 

Given  under  my  hand,  at  the  City  of  Washington,  this  twenty 
sixth  day  of  June,  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  one  thousand  eight  hun- 
dred and  forty  six,  and  in  the  seventieth  year  of  the  Independence  of 
the  United  States. 

By  the  President.  James  K.  Polk 

Wm.  L.  Marcy,  Secretary  of  War 

Basic  printed  form  (DNA-94,  Register  of  Army  Commissions,  Issued  and 
Distributed,  vol.  11,  1846-47).  The  original  was  sent  to  Benton;  on  3  Nov. 
1846  the  Adjutant  General's  Office  notified  [CF  that  it  was  sending  a  certified 
copy  to  CaHfornia  by  Col.  Richard  B.  Mason  of  the  1st  Dragoons  (Lbk, 
DNA-94,  LS,  23:109).  JCF  received  the  news  of  his  promotion  (but  probably 
not  a  copy  of  the  commission)  when  he  returned  to  Monterey  in  the  ship 
Sterling  on  27  or  28  Oct.   1846.  The  records  do   not   show  any   formal   ac- 

ceptance  of  his  lieutenant  colonelcy,  and  the  first  communication  received  by 
the  Adjutant  General's  Office  after  his  appointment  was  the  letter  dated  17 
Sept.  1847  reporting  himself  in  arrest  pursuant  to  the  orders  of  Brigadier 
General  Kearny  (S.  Cooper  to  R.  Burgess,  Lbk,  DNA-94,  LS,  28:371). 

37.   John  B.  Montgomery  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 
Yerba  Buena  June  26,  1846 

Since  writing  to  you  by  Lieutenant  Revere,  a  force  of  Seventy  Cal- 
ifornians  moving  from  Santa  Clara  towards  Sonoma  after  passing 
the  narrows  of  the  Bay,  twelve  miles  to  the  Nd.  of  my  anchorage, 
were  met  by  a  party  of  fifteen  of  revolutionists,  and  checked,  or  as 
reported,  compelled  to  fall  back  with  the  loss  of  two  killed  &  two 
wounded,  two  of  the  fifteen  also  falling  by  the  fire  of  their  op- 
ponents.^ This  first  success,  tho  seemingly  a  small  afTair,  cannot  fail 
I  think  to  give  a  favorable  impulse  to  the  operations  of  the  insur- 
gents, and  attract  at  once,  numbers  of  the  Foreign  residents  to  their 
aid.  Although  neutral  in  my  position,  I  cannot  be  so  in  feeling,  and 
am  anxiously  looking  for  farther  intelligence,  believing  that  in- 
activity in  the  circumstances  can  form  no  part  of  the  policy  of  the 
Sonoma  party, 

Castro  has  written  to  me  saying  that  "He  had  received  advice  from 
various  sources,  that  the  boats  of  the  American  ship  Portsmouth  go 
about  the  Bay  of  San  Francisco  armed,  for  the  purpose  of  examining 
its  trade,  &c."  This  of  course  I  have  very  honestly  denied,  but  in- 
formed him  that  I  had  sent  two  Boats  since  the  10th  inst.  to  your 
camp,  and  deemed  it  proper  in  the  circumstances  to  notify  him  of 
my  intention  to  despatch  another  for  the  purpose  of  communicating 
with  you  at  the  close  of  the  week,  since  which  I  have  heard  nothing 
from  him.  He  is  at  Santa  Clara  with  about  seventy  men  it  is  said. 

I  have  directed  Lt.  Bartlett"  to  bring  Surgeon  Henderson  with  him 
when  he  returns,  unless  your  detention  beyond  the  period  named 
for  your  final  departure  for  the  U.  States  should  render  his  further 
continuance  important,  of  which  you  will  please  be  the  judge.  Lieut. 
Bartlett  will  hand  you  Sir  a  package  for  the  Honorable  Secretary  of 
the  Navy,  which   if  perfectly  convenient   (not  otherwise),  I  will 


thank  you  to  take  charge  of  and  forward  from  any  point  of  com- 
munication most  convenient  to  yourself. 

[Commander  Montgomery's  letterboo^  then  indicates  that  the 
following  extracts  from  Thomas  Oliver  Larkjn's  letter  of  20  June 
1846  (which  he  had  received  on  25  June)  were  included  for  JCF's 

"From  a  confidential  letter  dated  May  18,  1846  Mazatlan,  I  learn 
from  Com.  Sloat  that  he  expected  to  be  here  as  soon  as  the  "Cyane" 
and  will  have  all  his  vessels  on  this  coast.  He  is  informed  from  our 
Government  that  I  shall  be  prepared  to  give  him  the  necessary  infor- 
mation, consult  and  advise  with  him  relative  to  future  measures. 
From  this  I  must  suppose  there  are  dispatches  sent  to  me  that  I  have 
not  rec'd.  The  misfortune  is  that  our  Mazatlan  consul  was  not  aware 
of  the  sailing  of  the  "Cyane"  for  this  port.  Therefore  I  am  deprived 
of  my  mail,  yet  the  information  desired  could  hardly  come  via 
Mexico.  I  must  believe  they  are  on  the  road  over  the  mountains. 

"Com.  Sloat  adds  that  supposing  I  shall  understand  him  he  does 
not  write  more  particulars.  I  presume  he  only  calls  off  this  port  and 
then  proceeds  to  San  Francisco.  The  officers  are  not  aware  of  the 
squadrons  coming  to  California  the  Commodore  wishing  it  to  re- 
main a  secret.  He  was  in  expectation  of  reaching  here  before  Captain 
Melvine  [Mervine].  I  therefore  look  for  him  daily.  I  believe  he 
expects  me  to  go  on  board  for  San  Francisco. 

"You  will  see  into  the  affair  as  you  can,  as  I  can  not  explain  it." 

[Montgomery  indicates  that  he  made  some  remarks  on  the  above 
extract  but  did  not  record  them.  He  then  concluded  his  letter:^ 

Wishing  you  Sir,  a  safe  and  pleasant  journey  to  your  country  & 
home  I  have  the  honor  to  subscribe  myself  Very  Respectfully  Your 
obt.  Servt.,^ 

Jno.  B,  Montgomery 


Capt.  J.  C.  Fremont 
U.  S.  Topgl.  Engineers 
Upper  California 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  no.  22,  Officers'  Letters,  Letterbooks  of  J.  B.  Montgomery). 
See  also  Larkin  to  Montgomery,  Monterey,  20  June  1846  (DNA-45,  Area  9 
File,  Pacific). 

At  the  suggestion  of  Vice-Consul  Leidesdorfif,  the  Portsmouth  had  moved 


on  23  June  from  Sausalito  to  Yerba  Buena,  to  protect  the  vice-consul's  property 
and  that  of  other  American  citizens  from  "the  probable  outrages  of  the 
Californians"  (duvall,  24-25).  From  Monterey,  James  H.  Gleason  wrote  to 
his  uncle,  "The  U.  S.  Ship  'Portsmouth'  .  .  .  supplies  in  a  secret  manner 
Ide's  party  with  provisions  and  ammunition"  (3  July  1846  letter  in  gleason). 

1.  Montgomery  is  referring  to  the  encounter  of  the  small  force  under  Bear 
Flagger  Henry  L.  Ford  with  the  much  larger  force  of  Joaquin  de  la  Torre 
on  24  June.  Actually  only  one  Californian  seems  to  have  been  killed  at  this 
engagement  at  Olompali.  Since  the  Americans  maintained  they  had  no 
casualties  as  a  result  of  the  engagement,  Montgomery  must  refer  to  the 
murder  of  Thomas  Cowie  and  George  Fowler,  who  had  been  taken  prisoner 
a  few  days  earlier  by  a  small  band  of  Californians.  Before  the  engagement 
of  24  June  Ford  asserted  he  had  sent  to  the  Sacramento  a  report  that  Castro 
was  crossing  with  troops  at  Carquinez  Strait  with  the  intention  of  attacking 
Sonoma  (rogers  [1],  29:266-69). 

2.  Lieut.  Washington  Allon  Bartlett  of  the  Portsmouth,  who  has  been 
identified  by  hussey  [1]  as  author  of  "The  Farthest  West"  letters  from 
California  in  1846,  arrived  at  Sutter's  Fort  on  28  June  to  find  that  JCF  had 
left  with  reinforcements  for  Sonoma  on  23  June.  On  29  June  Bartlett,  in  com- 
pany with  John  Bidwell,  set  out  overland  for  Sonoma. 

3.  It  may  have  been  a  surprise  when  Gillespie  came  on  board  the  Ports- 
mouth the  next  day,  27  June,  to  inform  Montgomery  that  JCF  was  at  San 
Rafael,  some  twelve  miles  distant  (duvall,  26). 

38.   Fremont  to  John  B.  Montgomery 

Sonoma:  July  5th.  1846 

I  have  the  pleasure  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  at  this  place  of  your 
two  communications,  dated  June  23d  &  26th,  the  latter  highly  inter- 
esting, in  connection  with  the  present  crisis.  I  trust  that  by  the  time 
you  receive  this  note,  the  arrival  of  Com,  Sloat  will  have  put  an 
end  to  your  neutral  position. 

Besides  owing  you  my  acknowledgments  for  the  professional  aid 
of  Dr.  Henderson,  I  am  much  indebted  to  you  for  the  pleasure  of  his 
acquaintance,  as  our  pursuits  appear  to  have  been  somewhat  similar. 
I  found  him  with  Lt.  Bartlett  here  on  my  arrival,  2  days  since.^ 

A  military  organization  of  the  force  under  arms  was  yesterday 
made  at  this  place,  and  farther  than  this,  I  have  nothing  of  present 
interest  to  communicate  to  you."  I  shall  today  continue  my  road  to- 
wards Sutter's  Fort,  on  the  Sacramento.^  Foreigners  from  below  are 
dailv  arriving  at  this  post,  and  we  have  information  that  upwards  of 
100  good  men  are  now  in  the  upper  part  of  the  Sacramento  valley, 


on  their  road  from  Oregon,  The  intelligence  was  brought  by  a  party 
of  7  men  who  were  in  advance.  Of  these,  5  were  wounded,  one  very 
dangerously,  in  an  attack  by  the  Indians.  This  man  was  shot  through 
the  body  and  is  lying  at  one  of  the  upper  settlements. 

I  forward  this  by  Lt.  Bartlett,  who  is  about  starting,  and  to  my 
great  regret,  Dr.  Henderson  accompanies  him. 

I  trust  that,  in  case  anything  of  moment  should  occur,  you  will 
not  find  it  inconsistent  with  your  convenience  and  the  strict  neutral- 
ity of  your  position  to  give  me  some  information.  Thanking  you  in 
the  meantime  for  your  recent  kindness,  I  am  Sir,  very  respectfully 
Your  obedient  servt., 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Bt.  Capt.  U.  S.  Topi.  Engineers 

Captain  Jno.  B.  Montgomery 

U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth,  Bay  of  San  Francisco 

ALS,  RC  (DNA-45,  Area  9  File,  Pacific). 

1.  Note  that  JCF  spends  no  time  recounting  his  activities  since  his  first 
arrival  at  Sonoma  on  25  June.  He  left  the  next  day  for  Mission  San  Rafael 
with  a  force  augmented  to  about  125  to  search  for  Joaquin  de  la  Torre  and 
to  intercept  additional  forces  which  Castro  might  send  across  San  Francisco 
Bay.  During  the  course  of  this  search  Ramon  and  Francisco  de  Haro,  twin 
brothers  who  were  carrying  a  message  to  Torre  and  were  accompanied  by 
their  uncle,  Jose  de  los  Reyes  Berreyesa,  fell  into  the  hands  of  JCF's  party 
near  San  Rafael,  and  all  three  were  shot  to  death  (for  details,  see  Doc.  No. 
52,  n.  6).  Another  intercepted  letter,  written  expressly  to  fall  into  JCF's 
hands,  led  him  to  believe  that  Torre  planned  to  attack  Sonoma  the  next 
morning  and  caused  him  to  make  a  night  march  (28-29  June)  back  to 
Sonoma.  This  left  the  Californians  a  clear  path  of  retreat  to  Sausalito,  where 
they  commandeered  a  launch  from  Capt.  William  A.  Richardson,  crossed  the 
bay  to  San  Pablo,  and  rejoined  Castro.  The  next  day  Castro's  reunited  force 
marched  south.  JCF  then  busied  himself  by  making  two  small  raids  south  of 
the  bay.  On  1  July,  with  about  twelve  men,  perhaps  as  many  as  twenty,  he 
crossed  the  Golden  Gate  from  Sausalito  in  a  launch  borrowed  from  the 
American  ship  Moscow.  Its  captain,  William  D.  Phelps,  acted  as  pilot.  JCF 
spiked  the  cannons  of  the  old  ungarrisoned  Spanish  fort,  Castillo  de  San 
Joaquin,  at  present  Fort  Point  beneath  the  southern  end  of  the  modern 
Golden  Gate  Bridge.  On  2  July  he  sent  ten  men,  commanded  by  Robert 
Semple,  to  Yerba  Buena  to  capture  the  alcalde,  William  S.  Hinckley.  But 
Hinckley  had  died  a  few  days  before,  so  Robert  Ridley,  the  harbor  master, 
was  taken  instead  and  sent  as  a  prisoner  to  Sutter's  Fort.  The  capture  of 
Ridley  must  have  delighted  Leidesdorff,  who  had  long  predicted  that  the 
cockney  would  get  his  "just  due."  When  JCF  returned  to  Sonoma,  he  found 
Dr.  Henderson  and  Lieutenant  Bartlett  there  and  celebrated  a  victorious 
Fourth  of  July  (memoirs,  525-26;  phelps,  290;  radcliffe).  Later  Robert  B. 
Semple  certified  that  his  party  went  to  Yerba  Buena  on  1  July  (CSmH),  but 
Montgomery  definitely  dates  it  "mid  day"  2  July  (larkin,  5:94-96).  For  his 


services  on  that  July  day,  Phelps  later  attempted  to  collect  $10,000,  but  Archi- 
bald Gillespie  certified  that  "there  was  no  enemy  present,  and  the  sole  object 
Captain  Fremont  had  in  view  was  to  prevent  the  Californians  from  using  the 
guns  at  any  future  time.  There  was  no  risk  or  personal  danger  incurred,  and 
the  service  would  be  well  paid  for  at  fifty  dollars"  {Presidential  Message  on 
the  Accounts  of  John  C.  Fremont,  Senate  Exec.  Doc.  109,  p.  71,  34th  Cong., 
1st  sess.,  Serial  825). 

2.  A  four-company  battalion  was  organized  to  conquer  Castro.  JCF  was 
in  command,  Gillespie  was  adjutant,  and  Henry  L.  Ford,  Granville  P.  Swift, 
and  John  Grigsby  were  elected  captains  of  three  companies.  But  since  the 
fourth  company  was  made  up  largely  of  men  from  the  exploring  expedition, 
JCF  appointed  its  commander,  Richard  Owens.  JCF  later  noted  that  if  he 
had  withdrawn,  the  independence  movement  "would  have  collapsed  with 
absolute  ruin  to  the  settlers."  In  accepting  the  position  of  command,  he  ad- 
dressed the  settlers  and  "dwelt  on  the  responsibility  which  I  had  assumed  as 
an  officer  of  the  United  States  Army,  trusting  to  them  to  do  nothing  which 
would  discredit  themselves  or  our  country"  (memoirs,  526;  Rogers  [4],  54- 
56;  MARTI,  61). 

3.  Grigsby  and  his  company  of  about  fifty  men  were  left  to  garrison 
Sonoma;  the  remainder  proceeded  to  the  Sacramento.  En  route,  parties  were 
sent  out  to  procure  horses  and  cattle  to  mount  and  feed  the  battalion. 

39.   John  D.  Sloat  to  John  B.  Montgomery 

Flag  Ship  Savannah 
Monterey,  July  6th.  1846 

Since  I  wrote  you  last  evening  I  have  determined  to  hoist  the 
Flag  of  the  U.  States  at  this  place  tomorrow  as  I  would  prefer  being 
sacrificed  for  doing  too  much  than  too  little. 

If  you  consider  you  have  sufficient  force  or  if  Fremont  will  join 
you,  you  will  hoist  the  Flag  of  the  United  States  at  Yerba  Buena  or 
any  other  proper  place  and  take  possession  in  the  name  of  the  United 
States,  of  the  Fort,  and  that  portion  of  the  Country.  I  send  you  a 
copy  of  my  summons  to  the  Military  Commandant  of  Monterey  to 
surrender  the  place  and  also  my  Proclamation  to  the  People  of  Cali- 
fornia which  you  will  have  translated  into  Spanish  and  promulgate 
many  copies  in  both  languages.^  I  have  sent  a  similar  letter  to  Genl. 
Castro  with  an  addition  of  an  invitation  for  him  to  meet  me  at  this 
place  to  enter  into  a  capitulation. 

I  will  send  you  a  duplicate  copy  of  these  documents  tomorrow  by 
land  which  I  hope  will  reach  you  before  the  boat  can  get  up.  You  will 
secure  the  Bay  of  San  Francisco  as  soon  as  possible  at  all  events.  It  is 


my  intention  to  go  up  to  San  Francisco  as  soon  as  I  can  leave  this 
[place]  which  I  hope  will  not  be  many  days. 

Mr.  Larkin  advises  that  you  should  not  send  by  Courier  anything 
that  would  do  harm  to  make  public  and  should  you  have  anything 
that  you  consider  important  for  me  to  know  you  can  send  the 
Launch  down  again. 

I  am  very  anxious  to  know  if  Capt.  Fremont  will  cooperate  with 
us.  Mr.  Larkin  is  writing  to  him  by  the  Launch  and  you  will  please 
put  him  in  possession  of  his  letter  as  soon  as  possible. 

I  have  not  time  to  write  more  at  present.  Very  Respectfully  Your 
Obdt.  Servt.  &c. 

John  D.  Sloat 
Commde.  in  Chief  &c. 

Copy  of  enclosure  1  in  Sloat  to  George  Bancroft,  31  July  1846  (DNA-45, 
Pacific  Squadron,  Commodore  Sloat's  Cruise,  1844-46).  The  letter  was  sent 
to  Montgomery  at  San  Francisco.  Commodore  John  D.  Sloat  (1781-1867), 
commander  of  the  Pacific  Squadron  since  1844,  had  finally  arrived  at 
Monterey  on  2  July  and  had  been  briefed  on  the  California  situation  by 
Larkin.  But  it  was  not  until  after  the  arrival  of  the  Portsmouth''^  launch 
with  letters  from  Montgomery  detailing  JCF's  cooperation  with  the  Bear 
Flaggers  that  he  decided  to  make  California  a  part  of  the  United  States 
(mc  lane,  83).  Although  Sloat  was  greatly  concerned  about  his  own  health 
and  turned  over  his  command  to  Stockton  before  the  month  was  out,  he 
was  not  put  on  the  reserve  list  until  1855. 

1.  The  "Summons"  and  the  "Proclamation"  are  not  printed  here  but  may 
be  found  in  cal.  his.  soc.  docs.,  2:352-54.  In  the  latter,  which  Larkin  helped 
compose,  Sloat  exhibited  tact  and  conciliation.  He  declared  that  although  he 
came  "in  arms  with  a  powerfuU  force,"  he  came  not  as  an  enemy  to  California 
but  as  a  friend.  He  assured  the  "peaceable"  inhabitants  that  they  would  enjoy 
"the  same  rights  and  privileges  as  the  Citizens  of  any  other  portion"  of  the 
nation;  pointed  out  the  benefits  of  a  permanent,  secure  government;  and 
guaranteed  freedom  of  religion,  security  of  property,  and,  to  those  not  dis- 
posed to  accept  the  privileges  of  U.S.  citizenship,  the  right  to  move  out  of  the 
country.  He  also  invited  the  local  officials  to  retain  their  offices. 

40.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  to  Fremont 

Consulate  of  the  United  States  of  America 
Monterey,  California,  July  7th,  1846 
Dear  Sir 

From  the  circumstances  of  the  Country  of  which  you  will  soon  be 
informed,  you  may  be  induced  to  send  to  the  States  a  few  men  to 


carry  despatches,  in  which  case  you  will  please  give  the  Commodore 
[Sloat]  and  myself  timely  notice.  I  by  all  means  recommend  it.  No 
vessel  will,  I  presume,  leave  here  for  Mazatlan  under  thirty  days, 
making  90  to  100  to  reach  Washington.  Even  under  present  circum- 
stances, she  may  not  sail,  and  if  she  does,  the  letters  are  not  safe 
going  through  Mexico.  It  is  of  every  importance  that  letters  go  to 
our  different  Departments  immediately.  You  are  better  aware  than 
myself  of  the  time  of  year,  and  whether  a  few  men  can  travel  or  not. 
Should  you  not  feel  justified  in  detaching  the  men  from  your  com- 
pany, if  it  is  of  service,  I  will  make  the  demand  on  you  for  them. 
The  Commodore  wishes  you  at  once  to  cooperate  with  him  under 
the  new  state  of  affairs,  and  inform  him  immediately,  calling  on 
Capt.  Montgomery  for  a  Launch  if  you  need  it,  to  bring  him  infor- 
mation of  your  willingness  to  do  so.  By  land  you  can  immediately 
send  me  a  Courier  with  a  letter  in  your  handwriting  without  either 
of  our  signatures,  merely  saying  you  will  fall  into  the  plan  offered. 
You  [will]  please  shew  this  to  Mr.  Gillespie.  I  am  Sir  your  most 
obdt.  servt., 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 
Captain  J.  C.  Fremont 

Copy  38  in  Larkin  to  Secretary  of  State,  20  July  1846,  no.  54  (DNA-59, 
Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.).  The  letter  was  sent  "open"  to  Com- 
mander John  B.  Montgomery,  who  was  asked  to  read,  seal,  and  forward  it 

41.  John  B.  Montgomery  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  ship  Portsmouth 
Yerba  Buena,  July  9th  1846 

Last  evening  I  was  officially  notified  of  the  existence  of  war  be- 
tween the  United  States  &  the  Central  Government  of  Mexico,  and 
have  this  morning  taken  formal  possession  of  this  place,  and  hoisted 
our  Flag  in  the  Town.  Commodore  Sloat  who  took  possession  of 
Monterey  on  the  7th  Inst,  has  directed  me  to  notify  you  of  this 
change  in  the  political  condition  of  California  and  to  request  your 


S  ii 

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presence  at  Monterey  with  a  view  to  future  arrangements  [and] 
co-operation  at  as  early  a  period  as  possible. 

I  forwarded  at  two  o'clock  this  morning  a  despatch  from  Commo- 
dore Sloat  to  the  Commandant  of  Sonoma  with  an  American  Flag 
for  their  use  should  they  stand  in  need  of  one. 

Mr.  Watmough  who  will  hand  you  this  will  give  you  all  news. 
Very  Respectfully  I  am  Sir,  Your  Obt.  Servt., 

Jno.  B.  Montgomery 
To  Capt.  J.  C.  Fremont 
U.  S.  Top.  Engineers 
Santa  Clara. 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  no.  22,  Officers'  Letters,  Letterbooks  of  J.  B.  Montgomery). 
By  an  order  of  the  same  date,  purser  James  H.  Watmough  of  the  Portsmouth 
was  instructed  to  proceed  to  Santa  Clara  and  to  San  Jose,  if  necessary,  to 
intercept  JCF.  JCF  was  at  Sutter's  Fort  when  he  received  the  news  on  the 
evening  of  10  July  that  the  American  flag  was  flying  over  Monterey  and 
Yerba  Buena.  The  next  morning  the  Stars  and  Stripes  were  raised  over 
the  fort. 

42.   John  D.  Sloat  to  Fremont 

Flag-Ship  Savannah,  Bay  of  Monterey 

July  9,  1846 

You  will,  no  doubt,  have  received  the  information  before  this  that 
I  have  hoisted  the  flag  of  the  United  States  at  this  place,  on  the  7th 
instant;  as  yet  all  is  quiet  and  no  resistance  of  any  kind  has  been 

I  immediately  sent  to  General  Castro  a  copy  of  my  proclamation 
to  the  inhabitants  of  California,  and  a  summons  to  surrender  forth- 
with to  the  American  arms  the  forts,  military  posts,  and  stations,  un- 
der his  command,  together  with  all  troops,  arms,  munitions  of  war, 
and  public  property  of  every  description  under  his  control  and  juris- 
diction, with  an  invitation  for  him  to  meet  me  immediately  at  this 
place  to  enter  into  articles  of  capitulation,  that  himself,  officers. 


soldiers,  and  the  inhabitants  of  California,  may  receive  assurances  of 
perfect  safety  to  themselves  and  property. 

I  have  this  moment  learned,  by  an  Englishman  just  arrived  from 
General  Castro,  at  the  Pueblo,  that  General  Castro  was  probably  at 
St.  John's  last  evening,  and  that  you  would  probably  be  at  the  Pueblo 
at  the  same  time. 

I  have  not  as  yet  received  any  communication  from  General 

It  is  thought  he  will  be  in  to-morrow,  or  send  some  communica- 
tion. The  Englishman  says  that  when  the  general  read  my  proclama- 
tion to  his  troops,  he  expressed  his  approbation  of  it:  if  he  is  wise,  he 
will  make  no  resistance. 

I  have  here  the  frigate  Savainmh,  of  fifty-four  guns,  the  sloops  of 
war  Cyane  and  Leva?2t,  of  twenty-four  guns  each,  armed  with  32- 
pounder  long  guns,  68-pounder  shell  guns,  and  42-pounder  carron- 
ades,  with  a  large  complement  of  men,  and  am  every  moment  in 
expectation  of  the  arrival  of  the  frigate  Cofigress,  with  sixty  32- 
pounder  long  guns,  at  this  place,  and  the  sloop  Erie  with  long  18's  at 
San  Francisco.'  I  am  extremely  anxious  to  see  you  at  your  earliest 
convenience;  and  should  General  Castro  consent  to  enter  into  a 
capitulation,  it  is  of  the  utmost  importance  that  you  should  be  pres- 
ent. I  hope,  therefore,  that  you  will  push  on  with  all  possible  des- 
patch, or,  at  any  rate,  let  me  hear  from  you  immediately. 

Captain  Montgomery  sent  his  launch  down,  which  I  despatched 
on  the  6th,  informing  him  that  I  should  take  possession  of  this  place 
on  the  next  day  in  the  name  of  the  United  States,  and  sent  him  a 
copy  of  my  summons  and  proclamation,  and  also  orders  to  take  pos- 
session of  Yerba  Buena  and  the  Bay  of  San  Francisco  immediately, 
requesting  him  to  inform  you  of  these  facts  without  delay.  I  have 
also  sent  him  three  couriers  with  the  same  orders  (in  cipher),  which 
I  have  no  doubt  have  reached  him,  and  am  confident  that  the  flag  of 
the  United  States  is  now  flying  there. 

Although  I  am  in  expectation  of  seeing  General  Castro,  to  enter 
into  satisfactory  terms  with  him,  there  may  be  a  necessity  of  one 
hundred  men,  well  mounted,  who  are  accustomed  to  riding,  to  form 
a  force  to  prevent  any  further  robbing  of  the  farmers'  houses,  &c. 
by  the  Indians.  I  request  you  to  bring  in  as  many  men  up  to  that 
number  with  you,  or  send  them  on  under  charge  of  a  trusty  person, 
in  case  you  may  be  delayed  for  a  day  or  two.  Should  you  find  any 


Government  horses  on  the  road,  please  bring  them  in.  Very  respect- 
fully, your  obedient  servant, 

John  D.  Sloat 
Commander-in-Chief  of  the  U.  S. 
Naval  Forces  in  the  Pacific  Ocean,  etc. 
Captain  J.  D.  Fremont. 

Printed  in  National  Intelligencer,  6  Dec.  1847,  and  memoirs,  530-31. 

1.  On  the  very  day  Sloat  wrote  JCF,  Castro  answered  the  naval  officer's 
summons.  "I  say  to  your  excellency  that  for  the  resolution  of  affairs  of  such 
great  gravity  it  is  necessary  for  me  to  put  myself  in  accord  with  his  excellency 
the  Governor  and  Honorable  Assembly  of  the  Department  as  the  legitimate 
authorities  which  represent  the  towns  which  compose  it,  in  the  understanding 
that  I  will  defer  with  pleasure  to  the  opinion  of  those  officials."  In  addition 
to  saying  that  he  must  go  south  to  consult  with  Governor  Pico  and  the  As- 
sembly, he  wrote  that  he  was  resolved  "to  omit  no  sacrifice"  to  preserve  the 
integrity  and  independence  of  his  country  as  long  as  he  could  count  on  a 
single  man  "in  this  cause  which  is  as  just  as  it  is  national"  (Jose  Castro  to 
Sloat,  San  Juan  Bautista,  9  July  1846,  both  original  and  translation  in  cal. 
HIS.  soc.  Does.,  2:354-55). 

2.  As  noted  earlier,  Sloat  had  arrived  at  Monterey  from  Mazatlan  in  his 
flagship  Savannah  on  2  July,  almost  two  weeks  after  the  arrival  of  the  Cyane 
(19  June),  captained  by  William  Mervine,  from  the  same  Mexican  port,  and 
two  days  after  the  Levant  (30  June),  apparently  from  Mexico.  The  Congress, 
sailing  from  Hawaii  with  Commodore  Stockton  aboard,  did  not  anchor  in 
Monterey  Bay  until  15  July,  and  the  storeship  Erie  put  in  on  4  Sept.  and  was 
fitted  out  as  a  cruiser.  The  Portsmouth ,  under  the  command  of  John  B. 
Montgomery,  had  arrived  at  Monterey  about  22  April  but  in  June,  at  the 
request  of  Larkin,  shifted  her  anchorage  to  San  Francisco.  When  Commodore 
Sloat  transferred  the  command  of  the  Pacific  Squadron  to  Stockton  on  29 
July,  he  sailed  for  home  on  the  Levant.  A  good  account  of  the  U.S.  Navy's 
role  in  the  conquest  of  California  is  bauer. 

43.  Mariano  G.  Vallejo  to  Fremont 

[New  Helvetia] 
[11  July  1846] 
My  respected  Sir: 

Yesterday  I  had  the  pleasure  of  having  received  word  from  one  of 
your  officers  that  today  we  would  have  a  meeting  for  which  I  have 
been  eagerly  waiting  for  the  whole  day,  but  the  day  being  almost 
over,  I  fear  that  you  will  not  have  time,  and  both  to  calm  the  restless- 
ness of  the  gentlemen  who  share  my  jail  and  for  my  own  satisfaction, 



I  wish  that  you  would  let  us  know  if  our  imprisonment,  which  has 
been  aggravated  by  a  complete  incommunicado  since  last  June  16, 
has  ended.  I  do  not  have  to  tell  you  about  the  way  in  which  we  have 
been  deprived  of  our  freedom  because  you  know  about  it,  but  the  na- 
tional flag  of  North  America  that  today  is  waving  over  this  fortress 
suggests  to  me  that  the  change  has  already  taken  place  and  a  pros- 
perous future  is  in  store  for  this  country  to  whose  destiny  I  cannot 
be  indifferent.  Therefore  today  I  was  delighted  that  you  have  issued 
the  proclamation  which  was  probably  published  when  the  flag 
that  changes  the  destiny  of  California  was  raised  high,  and  that  it  is 
bound  to  have  a  direct  influence  over  those  of  us,  whose  deep-down 
conviction  is  that  the  state  of  the  nation  cannot  be  worse  than  the 
state  in  which  it  was  before  the  change. 

[No  signature] 

Copy  in  Spanish  (CU-B).  The  editors  wish  to  thank  Mrs.  Sara  de  Mundo 
Lo,  University  of  lUinois  Library,  for  translating  this  document  and  Doc. 
Nos.  142  and  163. 

Vallejo  was  being  detained  at  Sutter's  Fort  by  order  of  JCF. 

44.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  to  Fremont 

Consulate  of  the  United  States  of  America 
Monterey,  California,  July  12th,  1846 

From  the  route  you  have  taken  I  presume  you  did  not  receive  my 
last  letter  (of  this  past  week).^  Commodore  Sloat  is  very  anxious  to 
see  you,  waiting  for  your  cooperation.  I  have  given  him  to  under- 
stand that  jointly  with  you,  his  business  will  become  light  in  com- 
parison to  what  he  now  has  on  hand.  I  presume  you  to  have  entered 
the  Pueblo  [San  Jose]  today.  The  Como.  wishes  you  to  reach  Mon- 
terey with  all  the  men  you  can  bring,  or  with  a  few  come  in,  and 
have  the  others  follow  directly.  He  wants  to  form  a  Company  under 
pay  to  cut  off  the  horse  stealing,  crimes  in  general  throughout  the 
Country  that  requires  a  force  or  bear  arms  against  any  body  of 
soldiers  who  may  be  met  to  fight  him.  General  Castro  has  wrote  to 
the  Como.  that  he  must  go  South  to  see  the  Governor  &  Assembly." 
I  hope  they  settle  the  business  peaceably.  You  can  promise  men  to 


take  up  arms  in  the  name  of  the  United  States  at  fifteen  or  twenty 
dollars  per  month.  They  can  in  a  great  measure  choose  their  own 
officers.  Should  you  be  able  to  purchase  any  horses  or  saddles  before 
you  come  in,  funds  are  here  for  payment. 

I  strongly  recommend  a  few  of  your  former  men  to  carry  home 
despatches.  Of  this  more  when  we  meet.  Hoping  to  see  you  tomor- 
row I  am  your  most  obedient  servant, 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 
Captain  J.  C.  Fremont 

Printed  in  larkin,  5:129-30. 

1.  Our  Doc.  No.  40. 

2.  See  p.  170,  n.  1. 

45.  Fremont  to  Edward  M.  Kern 

Dear  Sir, 

American  Fork,  July  12.  46 

Without  regard  to  any  order  that  you  may  receive  in  my  absence, 
you  will  retain  Messrs.  Vallejo,  Preuxdon  [Prudon],  Leese,  and 
Carillo^  at  the  fort,  of  which  you  are  hereby  placed  in  full  command. 
I  will  probably  see  you  again  in  10  days,  when  we  will  make  prepar- 
ations for  our  homeward  voyage.  Iron  and  confine  any  person  who 
shall  disobey  your  orders — shoot  any  person  who  shall  endanger  the 
safety  of  the  place.  Respectfully,  Yrs. 

J.  C.  Fremont 

I  leave  Jean  Droil  [Francois  Gendreau]"  in  charge  of  my  cavallada 
\caballada\  and  of  the  cattle.  He  will  be  at  or  near  Perry's  house.^ 
Send  vaqueros  to  him  when  you  want  a  beef.    J.C.F. 

ALS,  RC  (CSmH).  Addressed,  "Mr.  Kearne,  Commandr.  Fort  Sacra- 

1.  Seeking  information  about  the  imprisonment  of  his  brother-in-law, 
Mariano  G.  Vallejo,  Julio  Carrillo  had  arrived  at  Sutter's  Fort  in  the  latter 
part  of  June.  And  although  Lieut.  John  S.  Missroon  at  Sonoma  had  given 
him  a  passport  to  and  from  the  fort,  Edward  Kern  refused  to  allow  him  to 
leave.  He  had  been  forced  to  join  the  ranks  of  the  prisoners,  who  now  in- 
cluded not  only  Robert  Ridley  and  those  taken  at  Sonoma  but  also  Jose 
Noriega  and  Vicente  Peralta,  who  had  stopped  at  the  fort  on  20  June.  It  was 


not  until  3  Aug.  that  Carrillo  and  Mariano  G.  Vallejo  were  released  and  not 
until  8  Aug.  that  Salvador  Vallejo,  Prudon,  Leese,  Ridley,  Noriega,  and 
Peralta  were  paroled.  This  was  largely  due  to  the  solicitation  of  Larkin  and 
to  naval  orders — not  to  any  order  of  JCF's  (tays  [3],  17:224-29).  Later  the 
Spanish  vice-consul  at  Santa  Barbara  sought  reparation  from  the  U.S.  govern- 
ment for  the  unjust  imprisonment  suffered  by  Noriega  through  the  orders  of 
JCF  (see  correspondence  between  R.  B.  Mason  and  Cesareo  Lataillade,  House 
Exec.  Doc.  17,  pp.  427,  430,  31st  Cong.,  1st  sess..  Serial  573).  A  document  in 
CSmH,  dated  Fort  Sacramento,  11  July  1846,  and  appearing  to  be  a  parole  of 
V^icente  Peralta,  Jose  Noriega,  and  others,  seems  merely  to  express  the  wishful 
thinking  on  the  part  of  the  prisoners  that  they  be  released. 

2.  Francois  Gendreau's  name  appears  in  JCF's  financial  vouchers  as  Francois 
Jeandreau  and  in  other  California  records  as  Gendran,  Gendron,  Geandreau, 
and  even  Jondro.  He  was  a  Canadian  with  a  Walla  Walla  Indian  wife. 
Gendreau  was  an  employee  of  Sutter's,  and  he  later  commanded  the  com- 
pany of  Walla  Wallas  organized  by  Sutter  for  JCF's  southern  campaign 
in  the  winter  of  1846  (see  Fremont  to  Kern,  20  Nov.  1846  [Doc.  No.  90], 
and  DILLON,  254). 

3.  Probably  Perry  McCoon  (d.  1851),  a  former  sailor  in  the  British  Navy 
who  had  worked  at  Sutter's  Fort.  In  1845  he  moved  to  a  farm  of  his  own 
nearby  (new  Helvetia  diary,  38,  43;  pioneer  register). 

46.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 


[22  July  1846] 

1st.  Capt.  Fremont  and  Lieut.  Gillespie  will,  in  a  letter  addressed 
to  me,  volunteer,  for  themselves  and  the  men  with  them,  to  serve 
under  my  command  as  long  as  I  may  be  in  possession  of  California 
and  desire  their  services. 

2d.  They  may  increase  the  number  of  their  forces  to  300  men. 

3d.  Their  men  must  all  be  enlisted,  and  put  under  the  military 
laws  of  the  United  States  in  every  respect. 

4th.  The  men  may  receive  ten  dollars  a  month,  besides  their  ra- 

5th.  All  their  supplies,  such  as  tobacco,  &c.,  will  be  charged  to 

R.  F.  Stockton 

Printed  in  National  Intelligencer,  6  Dec.  1847.  This  was  one  of  the  docu- 
ments presented  to  the  court  on  3  Dec.  1847  in  the  trial  of  JCF  for  mutiny, 
disobedience,  and  conduct  prejudicial  to  good  order  and  discipline,  but  it 
was  not  printed  in  the  official  proceedings. 


Robert  Field  Stockton.  From  a  daguerreotype  of  the  Chicago 

Historical  Society. 


Robert  Field  Stockton  (1795-1866)  had  arrived  on  the  Congress  at 
Monterey  on  15  July  and  had  been  appointed  commander-in-chief  of  all 
forces  and  operations  on  land  in  California  by  Commodore  Sloat.  He  had 
superintended  the  construction  of  the  first  propeller-driven  warship — the 
Princeton — and  commanded  it  for  two  years.  More  than  a  naval  officer, 
Stockton  was  an  influential  businessman  and  wealthy  landowner  from  New 
Jersey  with  a  reputation  for  flamboyant,  unconventional,  and  adventurous  ac- 
tion— in  a  sense  the  prototype  of  the  aggressive  American  nationalist  of 
the  1830s  and  1840s. 

Larkin  suspected  that  Stockton  was  sent  to  California  for  a  special  reason. 
To  Abel  Stearns  in  Los  Angeles  on  24  May  he  had  written,  "I  look  daily 
for  Com.  Robert  Stockton  in  the  Congress,  who  left  Norfolk,  October  30.  .  .  . 
He  is  a  man  worth  from  25  to  30,000  dollars,  per  year,  with  yet  larger  ex- 
pectations. In  the  Clay  and  Polk  canvass  of  1844,  I  understand  he  spent 
20,000  dollars  in  the  New  Jersey  election.  .  .  .  Com.  Stockton  was  called  to 
Washington  a  day  or  two  before  he  sailed.  He  is  a  man  I  believe  much  in  the 
confidence  of  Mr.  Polk.  I  believe  that  Emigration  will  exceed  one  thousand 
this  year,  perhaps  two.  .  .  .  Now  when  you  understand  all  this,  and  see  the 
signs  of  the  times,  knowing  what  we  do  of  this  and  affairs  here,  what  object 
can  you  suppose  a  Commodore  of  Capt.  Stockton's  wealth  rank  and  prospects 
had  in  leaving  all,  and  coming  to  the  North  Pacific.  Hardly  to  take  charge  of 
a  squadron  to  see  to  Whalers  and  some  merchants  ships"  (larkin,  4:391-92). 
A  few  days  later,  over  the  signature  "Paisano,"  Larkin  wrote  Moses  Yale 
Beach  &  Sons  of  the  New  York  Sun  about  the  ball  which  the  Portsmouth 
had  given  for  the  native  inhabitants  and  added,  "The  Portsmouth  now  gentle 
lays  at  here  a[n"|chorage  waitifn]g  for  the  Commodore  [i.e.,  Stockton]  who  will 
on  his  arrival  give  a  Ball  of  some  discription  or  other  according  to  the  finale 
of  Mr.  Slidel  &  mission  last  Feb  &  March  in  the  'gran  Capital.'  Be  his  Ball 
and  party  as  it  may,  it  will  end  pleasantly  and  to  the  satisfaction  of  many  as 
they  can  not  long  endure  the  present  state  of  self  government"  (larkin, 

On  31  May  Larkin  informed  Gillespie  that  Stockton  could  hardly  be  in 
Monterey  harbor  before  15  or  20  June — as  though  to  warn  him  and  JCF 
not  to  move  too  quickly  (larkin,  4:407-9). 

Soon  after  the  Mexican  War,  Stockton  resigned  from  the  Navy  and  as  New 
Jersey's  Democratic  senator  entered  Congress,  where  he  urged  various  naval 
reforms,  including  the  abolition  of  flogging.  For  more  details  on  his  life,  see 
STOCKTON  and  price. 

1.  As  ten  days  had  elapsed  since  JCF  penned  Doc.  No.  45  to  Kern,  a 
resume  of  his  activities  may  be  helpful  in  putting  the  present  document  into 

On  12  July  JCF  had  left  the  American  River  for  Monterey,  going  by  way 
of  the  San  Joaquin  Valley  and  crossing  the  mountains  to  the  Mission  San 
Juan  Bautista.  Arriving  there  on  17  July,  he  was  joined  by  Archibald 
Gillespie,  who  brought  the  happy  news  that  Commodore  Stockton  had  ar- 
rived. But  he  also  brought  the  less  felicitous  tidings  that  Sloat  was  disturbed 
over  the  lack  of  knowledge  of  the  authority  under  which  the  Marine 
lieutenant  and  JCF  were  operating.  JCF  left  a  small  detachment  to  garrison 
San  Juan  and  proceeded  with  160  or  170  men  to  Monterey,  which  he  reached 
on  19  July.  Accompanied  by  Gillespie,  JCF  went  on  board  the  Savannah  for 
an  interview  with  Sloat.  Regarding  this  meeting,  Gillespie  reported  to  the 
Secretary  of  the  Navy,  "Commodore  Sloat  ...  did  not  express   himself  as 


satisfied  with  either  of  us,  and  appeared  extremely  distressed  at  the  thought 
of  responsibility  in  any  way  connected  with  ourselves.  Commodore  Sloat  up 
to  this  moment  has  not  recognized  the  operations  or  the  command  of  Cap't 
Fremont,  and  at  our  late  interview,  required  that  a  letter  should  be  addressed 
to  him  by  Cap't  Fremont,  showing  by  what  authority  we  were  in  the  country, 
and  under  what  orders  we  had  been  acting.  This  letter  has  not  been  written, 
and  very  fortunately  and  to  save  all  difficulty.  Commodore  Sloat  gave  the 
command  of  all  operations  on  shore  to  Commodore  Stockton,  which  circum- 
stances has  inspired  confidence  in  the  volunteers,  and  already  given  a  new 
aspect  to  the  position  of  affairs  in  this  quarter"  (Gillespie  to  Secretary  of  the 
Navy,  25  July  1846,  ames  [1],  277-78).  In  testimony  in  1848  before  the  sub- 
committee of  the  Senate  Military  Affairs  Committee  considering  the  Cali- 
fornia Claims,  JCF  stated  that  he  had  told  Sloat  that  he  was  acting  on  his 
own  responsibility  and  without  written  authority  from  the  government  to 
justify  hostilities — a  view  which  was  reiterated  in  the  Memoirs  and  in  a 
Century  magazine  article  (California  Claims,  Senate  Report  75,  p.  113,  30th 
Cong.,  1st  sess..  Serial  512;  memoirs,  534;  "The  Conquest  of  California," 
Century,  n.s..  vol.  19  [1890-91]). 

As  soon  as  Sloat  had  appointed  Stockton  commander-in-chief  of  all  forces 
and  operations  on  land,  Stockton  took  JCF  and  his  troops  into  the  service  of 
the  United  States  as  the  "Battalion  of  California  Volunteers."  However,  the 
official  muster  rolls  of  the  California  Battalion,  made  later,  show  7  July  1846 
as  the  date  of  entry  into  service  for  those  who  had  been  in  JCF's  battalion 
on  that  date.  This  was  the  date  on  which  Sloat  occupied  Monterey  (rogers 

Gillespie  and  JCF  must  have  breathed  further  sighs  of  relief  when  Sloat, 
in  poor  health,  sailed  on  29  July  in  the  Levant  for  the  United  States,  leaving 
the  vigorous  and  aggressive  Stockton  in  command  of  the  Pacific  Squadron. 

47.   Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Frigate  Congress 
Bay  of  Monterey,  July  23,  1846 

You  are  hereby  appointed  to  the  command  of  the  California  bat- 
talion of  United  States  troops,  with  the  rank  of  major.  Respectfully, 
your  obedient  servant, 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Commander-in-chief,  &c. 
To  Major  Fremont, 
Commanding  California  battalion 

Printed  in  Message  of  the  President  of  the  United  States,  Communicating 
the  Proceedings  of  the  Court  Martial  in  the  Trial  of  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Fremont,   Senate   Exec.    Doc.    33,    p.    175,    30th    Cong.,    1st    sess..    Serial    507. 


Hereafter,  this  document  will  be  cited  as  ct.  martial.  And  since  the  supple- 
ment to  the  present  volume  of  The  Expeditions  of  John  Charles  Fremont  is 
a  facsimile  edition  of  the  government  document,  all  references  to  ex.  martial 
are  also  references  to  it. 

48.   Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

United  States  Frigate  Congress, 
Monterey  Bay,  July  23,  1846. 

You  will  please  to  embark  on  board  the  United  States  ship  Cyane,^ 
with  the  detachment  of  troops  under  my  command,  on  Saturday 

The  ship,  at  daylight  on  Sunday  morning,  will  sail  for  San  Diego, 
where  you  will  disembark  your  troops  and  procure  horses  for  them, 
and  will  make  every  necessary  preparation  to  march  through  the 
country  at  a  moment's  notice  for  me.^ 

'You  will  endeavor  to  encamp  so  near  San  Diego  as  to  have  a  daily 
communication  with  the  Cyane,  which  will  remain  at  anchor  there, 
until  you  receive  orders  to  march. 

The  object  of  this  movement  is  to  take,  or  to  get  between,  the 
Colorado  and  General  Castro. 

I  will  leave  Monterey  in  this  ship  for  San  Pedro,  so  as  to  arrive 
there  about  the  time  that  you  may  be  expected  to  have  arrived  at 
San  Diego.^ 

I  will  despatch  a  courier  to  you  from  San  Pedro,  to  inform  you  of 
my  movements.  Faithfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Commodore,  &c. 
Captain  Fremont, 
United  States  army. 

Copy  of  enclosure  11  in  Stockton  to  George  Bancroft,  22  Aug.  1846 
(DNA-45,  Pacific  Squadron,  Commodore  Stockton,  1846-47).  Also  in  "The 
Report  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,"  5  Dec.  1846,  which  formed  a  part  of 
the  Message  of  the  President  of  the  United  States  to  the  Two  Houses  of 
Congress,  8  Dec.  1846,  House  Exec.  Doc.  4,  p.  674,  29th  Cong.,  2nd  sess., 
Serial  497. 

1.  On  this  same  day  Samuel  F.  DuPont  had  been  ordered  by  Stockton  to 
relieve  Capt.  William  Mervine  as  commander  of  the  twenty-gun  sloop 
Cyane.  Mervine  was  assigned  to  the  frigate  Savannah   (du  font,  34-35). 


2.  When  the  ship  sailed  on  26  July,  she  had,  in  addition  to  her  own  crew 
of  120,  about  165  battalion  men  with  saddles  and  packs  but  no  horses. 

3.  Larkin  wrote  Buchanan  on  29  July  that  he  was  to  go  south  with 
Stockton  "for  the  purpose  of  seeking  a  personal  interview  with  the  Gov- 
ernour  and  Legislature  of  California  with  the  view  of  entering  into  some 
arrangement  with  them  as  the  constitutional  authorities  of  the  country  to 
settle  the  present  state  of  affairs  around  us.  This  once  done  the  people  will 
become  calm  and  submit  to  the  existing  state  of  things  lately  brought  about" 
(larkin,  5:180-82).  Through  Abel  Stearns,  one  of  the  more  influential 
Americans  in  Los  Angeles,  Larkin  urged  the  local  civil  and  military  officers 
to  form  a  government  under  Stockton's  authority.  When  his  efforts  failed, 
perhaps  because  Stockton  desired  them  to  fail,  Larkin  wrote  Stearns  from  the 
Congress,  7  Aug.,  "You  will  bear  in  mind  that  I  have  done  all  I  could  to 
prevent  the  visit  of  800  soldiers  to  your  city  and  to  avert  the  evils  that  must 
necessully  attend  a  Campagn  by  such  men  thorg  [through?]  the  country  from 
St  D.  to  the  Sacramento.  The  Commo  intends  to  proceed  at  once  to  hostilities 
and  deal  with  this  department  as  a  part  of  R.  Mexico"  (larkin,  5:187). 

49.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  to  Fremont 

Consulate  of  the  United  States  of  America 
Monterey  California  July  24th  1846 

By  verbal  orders  of  Commodore  John  D  Sloat,  I  wrote  you  on  the 
7th  and  12th  instant  on  certain  affairs.  Since  your  arrival  in  Mon- 
terey you  have  verbally  informed  me  that  you  did  not  receive  the 
letter  of  the  12th  and  you  have  not  sent  me  any  Official  answer  to 
either.  Commodore  Sloat  has  since  informed  me  verbally  that  he  has 
concluded  not  to  keep  up  the  cavalry,  nor  any  other  force  for  the 
interiour  of  the  Country,  and  therefore  will  not  act  on  the  subject  of 
mv  letters. 

Therefore  as  I  have  acted  only  on  verbal  orders,  you  will  please 
consider  all  requests  or  instructions  of  mine  in  any  former  letters  I 
have  written  to  you  as  countermanded  and  not  to  be  further  acted  on 
from  this  date.  I  am  Sir  with  great  respect.  Yours  very  Truly, 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 
Captain  }.  C.  Fremont 
United  States  Army,  Monterey 

Printed  in  larkin,  5:158. 


50.  Fremont  to  William  A.  Leidesdorfl 

Carmel,  July  24.  1846 
Dear  Sir, 

I  have  shipped  to  your  address  by  ship  Sterling,  Capt.  [George  W,] 
Vincent,  a  box  marked  with  my  name  and  containing  property  be-, 
longing  to  Mr.  Knight.^  You  will  much  oblige  me  by  paying  charges 
and  forwarding  the  same  by  an  early  opportunity  to  New  Helvetia, 
consigned  to  Mr.  Edd.  Kerne,  commdg.  at  Fort  Sacramento.  Very 
Respectfully  Your  Obedt.  Servt. 

J.  C.  Fremont 

Capt.  Leidesdorfl 

U.S.  Consul  at  Yerba  Buena 

ALS,  RC  (CU-B).  Addressed;  endorsed. 

1.  William  Knight  (d.  1849),  a  settler  on  the  Sacramento,  had  taken  an 
active  part  in  the  Bear  Flag  Revolt.  He  had  come  to  California  in  1841  in  the 
Workman-Rowland  party  from  New  Mexico  (pioneer  register). 

51.  Fremont  to  Archibald  H.  Gillespie 

Carmel,  July  25  [1846] 
Dr.  Sir, 

The  new  arrangement  is  of  course  corriente  [in  operation],  and 
the  camp  will  be  held  in  readiness  to  move  at  3  in  the  morning. 
Very  respectfully, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
U.  S.  Army 
Capt.  Archibald  Gillespie 
Adjt.,  Cal.  Battn. 

ALS,  RC  (Eleutherian  Mills  Historical  Society  Library,  Greenville,  Del). 
Addressed  to  Gillespie  at  Monterey.  Endorsed:  "All  right!  Countermand  the 
Boats  'til  Sunrise  tomorrow.  A.  H.  G." 


52.  Fremont  to  Thomas  H.  Benton 

Mission  of  Carmel,  July  25,  1846 
My  Dear  Sir: 

When  Mr.  Gillespie  overtook  me  in  the  middle  of  May,  we  were 
encamped  on  the  northern  shore  of  the  greater  Tlamath  Lake.  Snow 
was  falling  steadily  and  heavily  in  the  mountains,  which  entirely 
surround  and  dominate  the  elevated  valley  region  into  which  we 
had  penetrated ;  in  the  east,  and  north,  and  west,  barriers  absolutely 
impassable  barred  our  road;  we  had  no  provisions;  our  animals  were 
already  feeble,  and  while  any  other  way  was  open,  I  could  not  bring 
myself  to  attempt  such  a  doubtful  enterprise  as  a  passage  of  these 
unknown  mountains  in  the  dead  of  winter.^  Every  day  the  snow  was 
falling;  and  in  the  face  of  the  depressing  influence  exercised  on  the 
people  by  the  loss  of  our  men,  and  the  unpromising  appearance  of 
things,  I  judged  it  inexpedient  to  pursue  our  journey  further  in  this 
direction,  and  determined  to  retrace  my  steps,  and  carry  out  the 
views  of  the  Government  by  reaching  the  frontier  on  the  line  of  the 
Colorado  river.  I  had  scarcely  reached  the  lower  Sacramento,  when 
General  Castro,  then  in  the  north  (at  Sonoma,  in  the  Department  of 
Sonoma,  north  of  the  bay  of  San  Francisco,  commanded  by  General 
Vallejo),  declared  his  determination  immediately  to  proceed  against 
me,  and  after  defeating  me  to  proceed  against  the  foreigners  settled 
in  the  country,  for  whose  expulsion  an  order  had  just  been  issued  by 
the  Governor  of  the  Californias."  For  these  purposes  Castro  immedi- 
ately assembled  a  force  at  the  Mission  of  Santa  Clara,  a  strong  place, 
on  the  northern  shore  of  the  Francisco  Bay.  You  will  remember  how 
grossly  outraged  and  insulted  we  had  already  been  by  this  officer; 
many  in  my  own  camp,  and  throughout  the  country,  thought  that  I 
should  not  have  retreated  in  March  last.  I  felt  humiliated  and  hum- 
bled; one  of  the  main  objects  proposed  by  this  expedition  had  been 
entirely  defeated,  and  it  was  the  opinion  of  the  officers  of  the  squad- 
ron (so  I  was  informed  by  Mr.  Gillespie)  that  I  could  not  again 
retreat  consistently  with  any  military  reputation.  Unable  to  procure 
supplies  elsewhere,  I  had  sent  by  Mr.  Gillespie  to  Captain  Mont- 
gomery, commanding  the  United  States  ship  of  war  Portsmouth, 
then  lying  at  Monterey,  a  small  requisition  for  such  supplies  as  were 
indispensably  necessary  to  leave  the  valley;  and  my  animals  were 
now  in  such  a  state  that  I  could  not  get  out  of  the  valley,  without 


reaching  the  country  which  Hes  on  the  east  side  of  them  in  an  en- 
tirely destitute  condition.  Having  carefully  examined  my  position, 
and  foreseeing,  I  think,  clearly,  all  the  consequences  which  may 
eventuate  to  me  from  such  a  step,  I  determined  to  take  such  active 
and  anticipatory  measures  as  should  seem  to  me  most  expedient  to 
protect  my  party  and  justify  my  own  character.  I  was  well  aware  of 
the  grave  responsibility  which  I  assumed,  but  I  also  determined  that, 
having  once  decided  to  do  so,  I  would  assume  it  and  its  consequences 
fully  and  entirely,  and  go  through  with  the  business  completely  to 
the  end.  I  regret  that,  by  a  sudden  emergency,  I  have  only  an  hour 
for  writing  to  all  friends,  and  that  therefore  from  the  absence  of  de- 
tail, what  I  say  to  you  will  not  be  clearly  understood. 

Castro's  first  measure  was  an  attempt  to  incite  the  Indian  popula- 
tion of  the  Joaquin  and  Sacramento  valleys,  and  the  neighboring 
mountains,  to  burn  the  crops  of  the  foreigners  and  otherwise  pro- 
ceed immediately  against  them.  These  Indians  are  extremely  numer- 
ous, and  the  success  of  his  measure  would  have  been  very  destruc- 
tive; but  he  failed  entirely.  On  the  6th  of  June  I  decided  on  the 
course  which  I  would  pursue,  and  immediately  concerted  my  opera- 
tions with  the  foreigners  inhabiting  the  Sacramento  valley.  A  few 
days  afterwards,  one  of  Castro's  officers,  with  a  party  of  14  men,  at- 
tempted to  pass  a  drove  of  two  hundred  horses  from  Sonoma  to 
Santa  Clara,  via  New  Helvetia,  with  the  avowed  purpose  of  bringing 
troops  into  the  country.  On  the  11th  they  were  surprised  at  daylight 
on  the  Consumne  River  by  a  party  of  12  from  my  camp.  The  horses 
were  taken,  but  they  were  (the  men)  dismissed  without  injury.  At 
daybreak  on  the  15th,  the  military  fort  of  Sonoma  was  taken  by  sur- 
prise, with  9  brass  pieces  of  artillery,  250  stands  of  muskets,  some 
other  arms,  and  a  quantity  of  ammunition.  General  Vallejo,  his 
brother  (Captain  Vallejo),  Colonel  Greuxdon  [Prudon],  and  some 
others  were  taken  prisoners,  and  placed  at  New  Helvetia,  a  fortified 
post  under  my  command.  In  the  meantime  a  launch  had  reached 
New  Helvetia  with  stores  from  the  ship  Portsmouth,  now  lying  at 
Yerba  Buena,  on  Francisco  Bay.  News  of  General  Castro's  proceed- 
ings against  me  in  March  had  reached  Commodore  Sloat  at  Mazat- 
lan  at  the  end  of  that  month,  and  he  had  immediately  despatched 
the  ship  Portsmouth  to  Monterey,  with  general  instructions  to  pro- 
tect American  interests  in  California. 

These  enterprises  accomplished  I  proceeded  to  the  American  set- 


dements  on  the  Sacramento,  and  the  Rio  de  los  Americanos,  to  ob- 
tain reinforcements  of  men  and  rifles. 

The  information  brought  by  Mr.  Gillespie  to  Captain  Mont- 
gomery, in  relation  to  my  position,  induced  that  officer  immediately 
to  proceed  to  Yerba  Buena,  whence  he  despatched  his  launch  to  me. 
I  immediately  wrote  to  him,  by  return  of  the  boat,  describing  to  him 
fully  my  position  and  intentions,^  in  order  that  he  might  not,  by 
supposing  me  to  be  acting  under  orders  from  our  Government,  un- 
wittingly commit  himself  in  affording  me  other  than  such  assistance 
as  his  instructions  would  authorize  him  naturally  to  offer  an  officer 
charged  with  an  important  public  duty;  or,  in  fine,  to  any  citizen  of 
the  United  States. 

Information  having  reached  me  from  the  commanding  officer  at 
Sonoma,  that  his  post  was  threatened  with  an  attack  by  a  force  un- 
der General  Castro,  I  raised  camp  on  the  American  Fork  on  the 
afternoon  of  the  23rd,  and,  accompanied  by  Mr.  Gillespie,  at  two  in 
the  morning  of  the  25th  reached  Sonoma,  with  ninety  mounted 
riflemen,  having  marched  eighty  miles.  Our  people  still  held  the 
place,  only  one  division  of  Castro's  force,  a  squadron  of  cavalry, 
numbering  seventy  men,  and  commanded  by  Joaquin  de  la  Torre 
(one  of  his  best  officers),  having  succeeded  in  crossing  the  straits 
(Francisco  Bay).  This  force  had  attacked  an  advance  party  of  twenty 
Americans,  and  (was)  defeated  with  the  loss  of  two  killed  and  two 
or  three  wounded.  The  Americans  lost  none.  This  was  an  unex- 
pected check  to  the  Californians,  who  had  announced  their  inten- 
tions to  defeat  our  people  without  firing  a  gun;  to  beat  out  their 
brains  with   their   "tapaderos,"   and   destroy   them  "con   cuchillos 
puros."^  They  were  led  to  use  this  expression  from  the  circumstances 
that  a  few  days  previously  they  had  captured  two  of  our  men  (an 
express),  and  after  wounding,  had  bound  them  to  trees,  and  cut 
them  to  pieces  while  alive,  with  an  exaggeration  of  cruelty  which 
only  Indians  would  be  capable  of.^  In  a  few  days  de  la  Torre  was 
driven  from  the  country,  having  barely  succeeded  in  effecting  his 
escape  across  the  straits,  the  guns  (six  large  and  handsome  pieces) 
spiked  at  the  fort  on  the  south  side  of  the  entrance  to  Francisco  bay, 
and  the  communication  with  the  opposite  side  entirely  broken  off, 
the  boats  and  launches  being  either  destroyed  or  in  our  possession. 
Three  of  Castro's  party  having  landed  on  the  Sonoma  side  in  ad- 
vance, were  killed  on  the  beach ;"  and  beyond  this  there  was  no  loss 


on  either  side.  In  all  these  proceedings,  Mr.  Gillespie  has  acted  with 
me.  We  reached  Sonoma  again  on  the  evening  of  July  4th,  and  in 
the  morning  I  called  the  people  together,  and  spoke  to  them  in  rela- 
tion to  the  position  of  the  country,  advising  a  course  of  operations 
which  was  unanimously  adopted.  California  was  declared  indepen- 
dent, the  country  put  under  martial  law,  the  force  organized  and 
officers  elected.  A  pledge,  binding  themselves  to  support  these  mea- 
sures, and  to  obey  their  officers,  was  signed  by  those  present.  The 
whole  was  placed  under  my  direction.  Several  officers  from  the 
Portsmouth  were  present  at  this  meeting.  Leaving  Captain  Griggsby 
[Grigsby]'  with  fifty  men  in  command  of  Sonoma,  I  left  that  place 
on  the  6th,  and  reached  my  encampment  on  the  American  Fork  in 
three  days.  Before  we  arrived  at  that  place.  General  Castro  had 
evacuated  Santa  Clara,  which  he  had  been  engaged  in  fortifying, 
and  with  a  force  of  about  four  hundred  men,  and  two  pieces  of  artil- 
lery, commenced  his  retreat  upon  St.  John's,  a  fortified  post,  having 
eight  pieces  of  artillery,  principally  brass.  On  the  evening  of  the  10th 
we  were  electrified  by  the  arrival  of  an  express  from  Captain  Mont- 
gomery, with  the  information  that  Commodore  Sloat  had  hoisted 
the  flag  of  the  United  States  at  Monterey,  and  taken  possession  of 
the  country.  Captain  Montgomery  had  hoisted  the  flag  at  Yerba 
Buena,  and  sent  one  to  Sonoma,  to  be  hoisted  at  that  place.  One  also 
was  sent  to  the  officer  commanding  at  New  Helvetia,  requesting  that 
it  might  be  hoisted  at  his  post. 

Independence  and  the  flag  of  the  United  States  are  synonymous 
terms  to  the  foreigners  here  (the  northern,  which  is  the  stronger 
part,  particularly),  and  accordingly  I  directed  the  flag  to  be  hoisted 
with  a  salute  the  next  morning.  The  event  produced  great  rejoicing 
among  our  people.  The  next  day  I  received  an  express  from  Com- 
modore Sloat,  transmitting  to  me  his  proclamation,  and  directing 
me  to  proceed  with  the  force  under  my  orders  to  Monterey.  The  reg- 
istered force  actually  in  arms,  and  under  my  orders,  numbered  two 
hundred  and  twenty  riflemen,  with  one  piece  of  field  artillery,  and 
ten  men,  in  addition  to  the  artillery  of  the  garrison.  We  were  on  the 
eve  of  marching  on  Castro  when  this  intelligence  arrived;  accord- 
ingly, I  directed  my  march  upon  Monterey,  where  I  arrived  on  the 
evening  of  the  19th,  with  a  command  of  one  hundred  and  sixty 
mounted  riflemen  and  one  piece  of  artillery.  I  found  also  there  Com- 
modore Stockton  in  command  of  the  frigate  Congress,  and  Admiral 
Seymour,  in  command  of  her  Britannic  Majesty's  ship  Collingwood, 


of  80  guns.*  I  have  been  badly  interrupted,  and  shall  scarcely  be  able 
to  put  you  in  full  possession  of  occurrences. 

To  come  briefly  to  a  conclusion,  Commodore  Sloat  has  transferred 
the  squadron,  with  California  and  its  apurtenances,  into  the  hands 
of  Commodore  Stockton,  who  has  resolved  to  make  good  the  posses- 
sion of  California.  This  officer  approves  entirely  of  the  course  pursued 
by  myself  and  Mr.  Gillespie,  who,  I  repeat,  has  been  hand-in- 
hand  with  me  in  this  business.  I  received  this  morning  from  Com- 
modore Stockton  a  commission  of  major  in  the  United  States  army, 
retaining  command  of  my  battalion,  to  which  a  force  of  eight  ma- 
rines will  be  attached.  We  are  under  orders  to  embark  to-morrow 
morning  on  board  the  Cyane  sloop  of  war,  and  will  disembark  at 
San  Diego,  immediately  in  the  rear  of  Castro.  He  is  now  at  the 
Pueblo  de  los  Angeles,  an  interior  city,  with  a  force  of  about  500 
men,  supposed  to  be  increasing.  The  design  is  to  attack  him  with  my 
force  at  that  place.  He  has  there  seven  or  eight  pieces  of  artillery. 

Commodore  Sloat,  who  goes  home  by  way  of  Panama,  promises 
to  hand  or  send  you  this  immediately  on  his  arrival  at  Washington, 
to  which  he  goes  direct.  It  is  my  intention  to  leave  this  country,  if  it 
is  within  the  bounds  of  possibility,  at  the  end  of  August.  I  could 
then  succeed  in  crossing  the  Rocky  Mountains ;  later  it  would  not  be 
possible,  on  account  of  the  snow ;  and  by  that  time  a  territorial  Gov- 
ernment will  be  in  operation  here.  Yours,  very  truly, 

}.  C.  Fremont 
Hon.  Thomas  H.  Benton 
United  States  Senate,  Washington 

Printed  in  National  Intelligencer,  11  Nov.  1846;  also  in  Washington  Daily 
Union,  9  Nov.  1846,  and  memoirs,  545-47.  Benton  actually  laid  the  private 
letter  before  the  president  "in  the  absence  of  official  information  on  the  sub- 
ject of  Lieutenant  Colonel  (then  Captain)  Fremont's  operations  in  Upper 
California"  to  show  the  "unwilling  manner  in  which  he  became  involved  in 
hostilities  with  the  Mexican  authorities  of  that  province,  before  he  had  heard 
of  the  war  with  Mexico  .  .  .  and  especially  to  disprove  the  accusation  made 
officially  against  him  by  Governor  Castro,  of  having  come  into  California 
with  a  body  of  United  States  troops,  under  the  pretext  of  a  scientific  expedi- 
tion, but  in  reality  to  excite  the  Americans  settled  in  that  province  to  an  in- 
surrection against  the  Mexican  Government." 

1.  For  a  man  who  had  crossed  the  Sierra  in  Feb.  1844,  JCF  seems  to  be 
overemphasizing  the  problems  of  snow  in  the  Oregon  mountains  in  mid-May. 
He  had  not  mentioned  snow  in  his  letter  of  24  May  to  Benton. 

2.  On  30  April  1846  the  subprefect  of  San  Francisco  had  given  the  Ameri- 
can vice-consul  there  a  copy  of  an  order  which  he  had  received  from  the 
prefect  of  Monterey.  Noting  that  many  strangers  had  purchased  land,  Manuel 


Castro  wrote  that  he  had  "concluded  to  order  all  Justices  of  towns  under 
their  charge,  that  they  cannot  under  the  most  strong  responsability,  permit 
nor  authorize  sale  or  cession  whatever  of  land  or  of  said  class  of  property, 
without  regulation  by  right,  and  in  favour  of  Mexican  citizens,  advising 
those  foreigners  that  are  not  naturalized  and  legally  introduced,  that  whatever 
purchase  or  acquisition  they  make  will  be  null  and  void,  and  will  be  subject 
(if  they  do  not  retire  voluntarily  from  the  country)  to  be  expelled  from  it 
whenever  the  government  finds  it  convenient"  (Francisco  Guerrero  y  Palor- 
mares  to  William  Leidesdorff,  30  April  1846,  larkin,  4:354).  While  this 
order  does  not  seem  to  be  retroactive,  but  merely  sets  a  policy  for  the  imme- 
diate future,  there  were  various  rumors  of  possible  expulsion.  In  a  circular 
Larkin  noted,  "From  April  to  June  the  foreigners  in  the  Sacramento  Valley, 
were  continually  harassed  by  verbal  reports  &  written  proclamations,  that 
they  must  leave  California"  (Larkin  to  "Several  Americans,"  8  July  1846, 
LARKIN,  5:119-21).  Several  months  earlier  he  had  reported  to  the  Secretary 
of  State  that  "General  Castro  is  now  thinking  of  taking  up  to  the  Sacra- 
mento in  July,  some  two  or  three  hundred  men,  with  the  ostensible  purpose 
of  opposing  the  Emigrants  expected.  Yet  it  can  hardly  be  supposed  he  is  in 
earnest  in  his  intention.  Should  he  be,  he  only  hastens  the  crisis"  (17  April 
1846,  DNA-59,  no.  42,  Consular  Despatches,  Monterey,  Calif.).  The  expulsion 
of  American  settlers  would  probably  have  been  impossible,  even  if  it  had 
been  genuinely  contemplated.  However,  the  Mexican  authorities  did  consider 
the  idea  of  acquiring  Sutter's  Fort  as  a  barrier  against  American  immigration 
(dillon,  236). 

3.  See  Fremont  to  Montgomery,  16  June  1846,  Doc.  No.  34. 

4.  Le.,  to  beat  out  their  brains  with  the  leather  stirrup  covers  of  the  Mexican 
saddles  and  destroy  them  simply  with  knives. 

5.  The  slain  men  were  George  Fowler  and  Thomas  Cowie. 

6.  JCF  is  referring  to  the  shooting  of  Francisco  and  Ramon  de  Haro,  twin 
brothers  from  San  Francisco,  and  their  uncle,  Jose  de  los  Reyes  Berreyesa,  an 
old  ranchman  from  Santa  Clara,  by  Kit  Carson,  Granville  P.  Swift,  and 
Neal  (probably  John  Neal)  after  they  were  captured  at  the  embarcadero  in 
San  Rafael.  Talbot  gave  no  details  when  he  wrote  his  mother,  "We  killed  3 
spies  here  [San  Rafael]  from  the  main  force  across  an  arm  of  the  bay  of  San 
Pablo"  (Talbot  to  Adelaide  Talbot,  24  July  1846,  DLC— Talbot  Papers). 
After  talking  with  John  Sears  in  Sonoma  in  Sept.  1846,  Marius  Duvall,  the 
assistant  surgeon  on  board  the  Portsmouth,  rejected  the  Carson-Swift-Neal 
allegation  that  the  three  Californian  victims  carried  orders  from  Castro 
directing  Joaquin  de  la  Torre  to  slaughter  foreigners  without  distinction  of 
sex  or  age.  He  was  convinced  that  the  blood  of  these  men  was  on  the  con- 
science of  JCF,  who,  he  was  persuaded,  had  given  covert  orders  not  to  take 
prisoners  (duvall,  53-54).  Richard  B.  Mason,  military  governor  of  California, 
wrote  Col.  Jonathan  D.  Stevenson,  "I  have  been  told  that  Carson  was  of  or 
commanded  the  party  that  went  to  meet  them,  and  upon  starting,  asked 
what  orders  he  had  to  give,  to  which  F.  replied,  'You  know  the  orders,  we 
want  no  prisoners,  or  we  cannot  take  care  of  prisoners'  or  words  to  that 
effect.  The  party  darted  off  and  soon  met  and  shot  down  an  old  man  &  two 
boys,  they  being  unarmed.  This  is  as  I  hear  the  story,  and  I  should  like  to 
know  Carson's  version  of  it"  (Mason  to  Stevenson,  Monterey,  28  Feb.  1848, 
CLU — J.  D.  Stevenson  Papers). 

JCF's  degree  of  responsibility  for  the  atrocity  was  to  become  an  issue  in  the 
presidential   campaign    of    1856.    Alexander    Godey    wrote    a    letter    to   John 


O.  Wheeler  defending  JCF  and  claiming  that  Carson  had  shot  the  Cali- 
fornians  when  they  resisted  arrest  (12  Sept.  1856,  hafen  &  hafen,  263-75). 
Gillespie,  however,  charged  that  the  men  were  deliberately  shot  in  cold 
blood.  He  did  not  say  that  JCF  gave  the  orders,  but  that  after  the  deed  was 
done,  JCF  commented  "It  is  well!!!"  and  let  the  bodies  lie  on  the  ground  all 
night  ( [1856]  memorandum,  CLU — Gillespie  Papers). 

In  his  MEMOIRS,  525,  JCF  justified  the  execution  on  the  grounds  that  it  was 
in  retaliation  for  the  brutal  killing  of  Cowie  and  Fowler,  and  he  attributed  the 
deed  to  his  scouts,  "mainly  Delawares."  Kern  wrote  home  to  his  brother  that 
the  butchering  of  Cowie  and  Fowler  had  "produced  an  order  from  our  side 
to  take  no  more  prisoners"  (Edward  M.  Kern  to  Richard  H.  Kern,  Fort 
Sacramento,  27  July  1846,  CSmH). 

7.  Tennessean  John  Grigsby  (ca.  1806-76),  who  had  been  one  of  the  most 
active  in  fomenting  the  Bear  Flag  Revolt,  had  come  to  California  in  1845 
with  William  B.  Ide.  After  the  California  Battalion  was  reorganized  in  Nov. 
1846  for  the  southern  campaign,  Grigsby  commanded  Company  E. 

8.  Commander  of  the  British  Pacific  Squadron,  Rear  Adm.  Sir  George  F. 
Seymour  had  been  on  his  flagship  at  Mazatlan  while  Sloat  was  there.  The 
Collingwood  arrived  in  Monterey  the  day  after  Stockton  and  stayed  a  week, 
fitting  new  spars.  JCF  and  his  supporters  were  wont  to  say  that  their  prompt 
cooperation  with  the  Bear  Flaggers  spurred  Sloat  into  action  and  thus  averted 
any  scheme  the  British  might  have  had  for  establishing  a  protectorate  over 

53.  Fremont  to  Samuel  F.  DuPont 

S.  Diego,  Aug.  3d.  1846 
My  Dear  Sm, 

One  of  Mr.  Bandini's^  servants,  Pedro,  I  am  told,  goes  in  your 
launch.-  Will  you  do  me  the  favor  to  direct  him  to  use  much  pre- 
caution with  the  accompanying  letter  and  give  it  into  the  hands  only 
of  D.  Alejandro[  ?]^  himself.-^  Very  respectfully, 

J.  C.  Fremont 

Capt.  Dupont 
Ship  Cyane 

ALS,  RC  (Eleutherian  Mills  Historical  Society  Library,  Greenville,  Del.). 
Addressed  to  DuPont  at  San  Diego.  On  26  July  JCF  and  his  men  sailed  south 
from  Monterey  on  the  Cyane,  captained  by  Samuel  F.  DuPont,  to  cut  ofT  the 
escape  of  General  Castro.  They  reached  San  Diego  on  29  July,  where  they 
took  possession  and  raised  the  American  flag  without  a  shot  being  fired 
against  them.  For  a  description  of  the  occupation,  see  dupont,  34-35. 

1.  Juan  Bandini  (1800-1859),  born  and  educated  in  Lima,  Peru,  came  to 
California  as  a  young  man  and  soon  became  engaged,  sometimes  unwisely, 
in  politics,  holding  various  offices.  At  the  time  of  Stockton's  move  on  Los 
Angeles  in  Aug.  1846,  Bandini  was  Governor  Pico's  secretary  and  a  member 


of  the  Assembly,  but  he  soon  espoused  the  American  cause  and  with  Don 
Santiago  E.  Argiiello  aided  JCF  in  procuring  horses  and  suppUes,  deeds  which 
caused  him  to  be  viewed  as  a  traitor  by  Pico  (memoirs,  563-65). 

2.  The  Cyane's  launch  was  sent  to  San  Pedro  to  report  the  capture  of  San 
Diego  to  Commodore  Stockton. 

3.  The  "accompanying  letter"  for  D.  Alejandro  has  not  been  found.  D. 
Alejandro  could  possibly  be  David  W.  Alexander,  whom  Captain  DuPont 
made  collector  of  the  port  of  San  Pedro  on  17  Aug.  1846.  He  was  likewise 
appointed  to  that  position  by  JCF  in  1847. 

54.   Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Frigate  Congress 

Bay  of  San  Pedro 

August  6th.  1846 

Thursday  night 


I  have  to  inform  you  that  on  my  arrival  here  this  morning  I 
learned  that  Alvarado  left  the  Pueblo  [Los  Angeles]  on  Sunday 
morning  with  50  men,  and  that  Castro  marched  on  Wednesday  with 
the  remainder  of  their  forces,  amounting  in  all  to  about  250  men. 

They  say  that  they  have  gone  to  a  place  called  Allamitos  [Alami- 
tos],^  eight  leagues  south  east  of  Pueblo.  If  this  be  true,  they  must 
be  about  half  way  between  us.  I  will  get  as  near  to  him  as  I  can 
without  horses.  I  can  not  of  course  chase  him.  I  must  try  to  intercept 
him,  on  his  retreat  before  you. 

I  will  probably  be  encamped  at  Temple's  Farm,"  which  is  about 
midway  between  this  and  Pueblo  on  the  main  road  on  Wednesday 
night,  where  I  will  await  your  arrival  that  we  may  march  into  Pue- 
blo together. 

If  therefore  you  are  prepared  in  every  respect  to  march  against 
Castro,  you  will  join  me  with  your  forces  at  Temple's  Farm,  as  soon 
as  you  can. 

If  you  are  not  so  prepared  you  had  better  embark  on  board  the 
Cyane  and  join  me  by  the  way  of  San  Pedro. 

If  you  should  have  good  reason  to  believe  that  Castro  has  gone  in  a 
different  direction,  and  especially  if  he  attempts  to  get  to  the  south- 
ward of  you,  you  are  at  liberty  to  exercise  your  own  judgment, 


whether  it  will  be  better  for  you  to  pursue  him,  or  to  join  me.  Faith- 
fully, Yr.  obdt.  servt., 

R,  F,  Stockton 
Commander  in  chief  &c.  &c. 
To  Major  Fremont 
Commanding  California  Battalion 
St.  Diego 

P.  S.  Since  writing  the  above,  I  have  intercepted  a  letter  signed  by 
Pico  and  Castro,  brothers  of  the  General  and  Governor,  I  believe, 
brought  this  evening  by  a  courier  from  Pueblo,  written  it  would 
seem  in  answer  to  one  written  by  a  Californian  officer  on  shore  here 
announcing  my  arrival,  in  which  this  officer  is  desired  to  keep  a 
lookout  on  the  movements  of  the  enemy. 

"Allamitos"  I  understand  is  a  Ranch.  The  last  news  is  that  Castro's 
men  are  daily  leaving  him,  and  that  they  are  very  badly  equipped.^ 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Entry  395  [E-20-A],  Letterbook  of  Robert  F.  Stockton, 
1846-47).  The  letter  was  brought  to  San  Diego  by  the  Cyane's  launch. 

On  1  Aug.,  three  days  after  JCF  had  landed  at  San  Diego.  Stockton  sailed 
from  Monterey  with  360  Marines  and  seamen  aboard  the  Congress.  Going 
south  with  Stockton  was  Larkin,  who  hoped  to  work  through  influential 
Americans  in  Los  Angeles  to  get  the  Mexican  civil  and  military  officers  to 
raise  the  American  flag  and  form  a  government  under  Stockton's  authority. 
Stockton  touched  at  Santa  Barbara  on  4  Aug.,  ran  up  the  U.S.  flag,  and  left 
a  small  garrison  in  charge.  As  this  letter  indicates,  he  was  in  San  Pedro  two 
days  later. 

1.  Los  Alamitos  was  owned  by  Abel  Stearns.  It  had  been  a  part  of  the 
large  grant  made  to  Manuel  Nieto  in  1784,  originally  including  all  the  land 
lying  between  the  Santa  Ana  and  San  Gabriel  rivers  from  the  mountains  to 
the  sea  (r.  g.  cowan;  abeloe,  151). 

2.  Stockton  is  probably  referring  to  John  Temple's  land  and  adobe  man- 
sion, built  in  1844,  in  the  vicinity  of  present  Long  Beach.  It,  too,  had  been  a 
part  of  the  old  Nieto  grant.  John  Temple  (1798-1866),  an  energetic  Massa- 
chusetts Yankee  who  had  come  to  California  in  1827,  acquired  Los  Cerritos 
through  marriage  and  purchase.  Success  attended  most  of  his  ventures  in  Los 
Angeles.  He  opened  the  first  general  store,  had  the  first  market,  and  with 
his  brother,  Francis  Pliny  F.,  was  the  builder  of  the  first  office  structure — 
Temple  Block  (abeloe,  151-52). 

3.  BANCROFT,  5:261-66,  notes  that  Castro  and  Pico  had  scarcely  been  able  to 
raise  200  men  and  that  the  citizenry  was  reluctant  to  fight  against  the  Ameri- 
cans. Furthermore,  the  local  authorities  were  apathetic  and  quarreling  among 
themselves.  But  after  its  occupation  Larkin  wrote  an  exaggerated  account  of 
the  power  of  the  Californians  in  Los  Angeles.  "The  soldiers  &  farmers  col- 
lected together  in  this  place  by  the  General,  (Jovernor  &  Prefect  of  Monterey, 
amounted  to  about  live  hundred  men.  They  had  sufficient  powder,  many  very 
handsome  pieces  of  brass  artillery,  in  good  order  &  an  incredible  number  of 


carbines  &  muskets  all  over  the  country,  with  as  many  horses  &  bullocks  as 
they  chose  to  take  from  the  farms;  the  Officers  &  principal  friends  of  the  Genl. 
&  Govr.,  were  well  provided  with  pistols  and  swords,  and  most  of  these 
people  had  a  full  knowledge  of  roads,  mountains  &  country."  But  between  9 
and  11  Aug.  parties  of  between  twenty  and  sixty  men  left  the  city,  "and  on 
the  arrival  of  the  United  States  forces  in  the  town  on  the  13  inst.,  not  an 
armed  soldier  was  to  be  found."  He  added  that  the  people  were  completely 
subdued  (23  Aug.  1846,  larkin,  5:214-16). 

55.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Frigate  Congress 

Bay  of  San  Pedro 

August  9th.  1846 


Castro  has  returned  to  a  place  within  two  miles  of  the  Pueblo. 
I  send  to  you  a  young  man  who  will  show  you  the  way  to 
"Temple's  Rancho."  FaidifuUy,  Yr.  obdt.  servt., 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Commander  in  chief  &c,  &c. 


Major  Fremont 
California  Battalion.  &c.  &c. 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Entry  395  [E-20-A],  Letterbook  of  Robert  F.  Stockton,  1846- 
47).  The  day  after  landing  at  San  Pedro,  Stockton  had  received  two  commis- 
sioners— Pablo  de  la  Guerra  and  Jose  Maria  Flores — who  presented  a  note 
from  Castro  demanding  an  explanation  of  Stockton's  purposes  and  pointing 
out  that  negotiations  could  not  take  place  until  all  hostilities  were  sus- 
pended. BANCROFT,  5:268-76,  believes  that  at  this  point  Castro  was  disposed 
to  accede  to  the  U.S.  wishes  of  voluntarily  raising  the  American  flag,  and 
writes  that  Stockton  was  also  aware  that  Castro  might  submit  if  negotiations 
were  entered  into.  But  Stockton  did  not  want  voluntary  submission:  he 
wished  to  avoid  continuing  the  Californians  in  power  on  any  basis.  So  he 
not  only  rejected  the  Mexican  overtures  for  negotiations  but  also  insisted  on 
their  raising  the  American  flag  in  such  a  manner  that  Castro  could  not  submit 
without  great  humiliation.  The  Californian  refused  to  yield  and  informed 
Governor  Pico  that  the  country  could  not  be  defended  and  that  he  was  leav- 
ing to  report  to  the  supreme  government  in  Mexico.  Pico  submitted  Castro  s 
communication  to  the  Assembly  on  10  Aug.,  admitting  in  a  speech  that  he 
saw  no  possibility  of  a  successful  defense.  He  also  stated  that  he  was  leaving 
with  the  general  to  report  to  the  national  authorities  and  recommended  that 
the  Assembly  dissolve— which  it  did.  Castro  disbanded  his  military  force,  and 
on  the  night  of  10  Aug.  he  and  Pico  left  the  capital  and  went  their  separate 


ways.  Castro  slipped  through  the  San  Gorgonio  Pass  to  the  Colorado  River 
and  took  the  Sonora  route  into  Mexico,  never  to  return  to  California.  Pico 
went  to  his  Santa  Margarita  rancho,  where  he  found  his  flight  to  Mexico 
temporarily  cut  off  by  the  advancing  Americans.  His  stay  in  Mexico  was 
short,  however,  and  in  the  middle  of  1848  he  was  again  in  California. 

Stockton's  march  to  Los  Angeles  began  on  11  Aug.,  but  when  Castro's 
flight  was  known,  150  sailors  were  sent  back  to  San  Pedro.  Captain  Phelps 
of  the  Moscow,  who  had  arrived  at  that  port  on  12  Aug.,  started  overland  to 
overtake  Stockton's  forces,  and  he  described  them  as  they  moved  out  from 
Temple's  rancho:  "The  invading  army,  as  it  now  moved  over  the  plains, 
presented  quite  an  imposing  appearance.  First  came  the  full  band  of  music, 
followed  by  Captain  Zeilin  and  his  marines;  then  Lieut.  Schenck  and  the 
web-feet;  Lieut.  Tighlman,  and  a  battery  of  four  quarter-deck  guns,  mounted 
on  as  many  bullock  carts'  the  carriages  of  the  guns  were  secured  by  the 
breechings,  and  ready  for  instant  service;  each  cart  was  drawn  by  four  oxen, 
— the  baggage  ammunition  followed  in  similar  teams;  the  Purser,  Doctor, 
and  some  other  officers, — part  of  them  mounted  on  rather  sorry  looking 
horses,  and  others  on  foot.  The  total  force  was  about  three  hundred  and 
fifty"  ( PHELPS,  300).  In  a  dispatch  to  Buchanan,  Larkin  says  the  force  was 
250  men  (23  Aug.  1846,  larkin,  5:214-16). 

On  12  Aug.,  perhaps  at  the  invitation  of  some  of  the  Angelenos,  Larkin, 
Passed  Midshipman  Charles  H.  Baldwin,  and  a  servant  pushed  on  ahead  to 
the  Government  House  in  the  city.  Stockton  arrived  the  next  day,  and  a  bit 
later — about  4  p.m. — JCF's  forces,  now  mounted,  joined  those  under  Lieut. 
James  P.  Schenck  in  the  gardens  outside  the  town.  The  combined  forces 
entered  the  capital.  The  brass  band  played  "Hail  Columbia,"  and  the  Stars 
and  Stripes  were  hoisted  in  the  plaza.  The  ship's  crew  took  quarters  within 
the  walls  of  the  Government  House,  and  JCF's  forces  camped  near  the  river 
(pHELPs,  302-5;  LARKIN,  5:214-16). 

Before  joining  Stockton's  forces,  JCF  had  learned  of  Castro's  retreat  and 
had  hoped  to  cut  him  off  before  he  could  reach  the  Colorado,  but  finding 
that  Castro's  horses  were  superior,  he  soon  gave  up  the  chase.  The  com- 
mander of  the  Cyane  recorded  that  Castro  "buried  his  guns  in  the  most 
ingenious  way  in  the  sands,  carrying  on  the  carriages  much  further  and 
leaving  thus  the  wheel  tracks  to  mislead;  but  the  unerring  eye  of  one  of  the 
Delaware  Indians  in  Fremont's  party  detected  the  trail"  (du  pont,  50).  On 
17  Aug.  JCF  started  in  pursuit  of  Governor  Pico,  a  chase  which  he  carried  on 
half-heartedly  and  which  ended  by  his  writing  to  Pico  "assuring  him  of  pro- 
tection to  his  person  and  property,  and  inviting  him  to  return  to  the  city 
fLos  Angeles]"  (memoirs,  566;  phelps,  302-5).  Although  Pico  did  not  then 
decide  to  return,  JCF  heard  afterward  that  "he  thoroughly  appreciated  my 
sincere  desire  to  save  himself  from  annoyance  and  his  affairs  from  derange- 
ment, and  to  publicly  show  my  respect  for  him  and  his  official  position" 
(memoirs,  655). 

In  his  Senate  speech  opposing  the  nomination  of  Kearny  for  the  brevet  rank 
of  major  general,  Benton  said  he  had  the  letter  from  Pico,  in  the  original 
Spanish,  addressed  from  his  retirement  in  Sonora  to  JCF,  offering  to  come 
in  person,  if  necessary,  in  the  interests  of  preserving  peace  and  order  and  dis- 
claiming all  use  of  his  name  to  the  contrary.  "Fremont,"  Benton  said,  "should 
keep  it  forever,  as  the  high  testimony  of  his  exalted  conduct  in  California" 
(Washington  Daily  Union,  1  Sept.  1848),  but  unfortunately  the  letter  has 
been  lost  to  history. 


JCF  was  at  San  Diego  when  he  received  word  of  the  official  declaration 
of  war  with  Mexico.  He  left  Gillespie  there  and  hastened  back  to  Los 
Angeles  to  communicate  with  Stockton  (phelps,  303-5). 

56.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 


August  24th.  1846 

By  the  Mexican  newspapers  I  see  that  war  has  been  declared  both 
by  the  United  States  and  Mexico/  and  the  most  vigorous  measures 
have  been  adopted  by  Congress  to  carry  it  to  a  speedy  conclusion. 

Privateers  will  no  doubt  be  fitted  out  to  prey  upon  our  commerce, 
and  the  immense  value  of  that  commerce  in  the  Pacific  Ocean,  and 
the  number  of  valuable  men  engaged  in  it,  requires  immediately  all 
the  protection  that  can  be  given  to  them,  by  the  Ships  under  my 

I  must  therefore  withdraw  my  forces  from  California  as  soon  as  it 
can  be  safely  done,  and  as  soon  as  you  can  enlist  men  enough  to  gar- 
rison this  City,  Monterey,  San  Francisco,  Santa  Barbara  and  San 
Diego;  and  to  have  a  sufficient  force  besides  to  watch  the  Indians 
and  other  enemies. 

For  these  purposes  you  are  authorized  and  required  to  increase 
your  present  force  to  three  hundred  men. 

Fifty  for  San  Francisco,  Fifty  for  Monterey,  Twenty  five  for  Santa 
Barbara,  Fifty  for  this  City,  and  Twenty  five  for  San  Diego;  and  one 
hundred  to  be  kept  together,  with  whom  those  in  the  several  garri- 
sons can  at  short  notice  be  called  upon  at  anytime  in  case  of  necessity 
to  act. 

I  propose  before  I  leave  the  Territory  to  appoint  you  to  be  the 
Governor,  and  Captain  Gillespie  the  Secretary  thereof;  and  to  ap- 
point also  the  Council  of  State,  and  all  the  other  necessary  officers. 

You  will  therefore  proceed  without  delay  to  do  all  you  can  to  fur- 
ther my  views  and  intentions  thus  frankly  manifested.  Supposing 
that  by  the  25th  of  October,  you  will  have  accomplished  your  part  of 
these  preparations,  I  will  meet  you  at  San  Francisco  on  that  day  to 
complete  the  whole  arrangement,  and  to  place  you  as  Governor 
over  California. 


You  will  dispose  of  your  present  force  in  the  following  manner, 
which  mav  be  hereafter  altered  as  occasion  may  require. 

Captain  Gillespie  to  be  stationed  at  this  City,  with  Fifty  men  and 
officers  in  the  neighbourhood — Twenty  five  men  with  an  officer  at 
Santa  Barbara — Fifty  men  and  officers  at  Monterey,  and  Fifty  at  San 

If  this  be  done  at  once  I  can  at  any  time  safely  withdraw  my 
forces,  as  I  proceed  up  the  coast  to  San  Francisco ;  and  be  ready  after 
our  meeting  on  the  25th  of  October  to  leave  the  desk  and  the  camp, 
and  take  to  the  ship  and  to  the  Sea.  Faithfully  Yr.  Obdt.  Servt. 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Commander  in  Chief  and  Governor  of  the  Territory  of  California 

To  Major  Fremont 
California  Battalion 
Ciudad  de  los  Angeles 

LS  (DNA-45,  Pacific  Squadron,  Commodore  Stockton.  1846-47).  An  un- 
signed copy  is  in  DLC — Polk  Papers,  where  the  endorsement  notes  "Reed. 
Nov  30.  1846."  The  letter  was  printed  in  "Report  of  the  Secretary  of  the 
Navy"  in  Message  of  the  President  of  the  United  States  to  the  Two  Houses 
of  Congress,  8  Dec.  1846.  House  Exec.  Doc.  4,  29th  Cong.,  2nd  sess.,  Serial 
497.  .-Xt  the  time  of  Stockton's  writing,  the  U.S.  flag  was  flying  at  every  com- 
manding position  in  California,  and  ostensibly  the  conquest  of  California  was 
complete.  Stockton  proclaimed  martial  law  but  indicated  that  the  people 
might  choose  their  local  civil  officers. 

1.  President  Polk  signed  the  declaration  of  war  on  13  May  1846,  four  days 
after  the  receipt  of  the  news  that  a  small  squadron  of  dragoons,  constituting 
part  of  the  command  of  Gen.  Zachary  Taylor,  had  been  fired  upon  by 
Mexican  forces  in  the  area  north  of  the  Rio  Grande,  not  far  from  Point 
Isabel,  Tex.  The  news  of  the  declaration  was  received  in  California  on  17 
Aug.,  when  the  Warren  came  into  San  Pedro. 

57.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  James  K.  Polk 


Ciudad  de  los  Angeles 
August  26th.  1846 
Dear  Sir: 

You  will  no  doubt  be  informed  by  the  Secretary  of  State  and  the 
Navy  Department  of  the  doings  of  the  Frigate  Congress  under  my 


command  at  Honolulu  and  in  California,  and  you  will  be  enabled  to 
judge  of  my  conduct,  without  a  word  from  me  on  the  subject — how 
far  I  have  fulfilled  my  own  promises,  and  to  what  degree  I  have 
come  up  to  your  expectations. 

By  the  month  of  October,  I  think  I  will  have  the  whole  civil  gov- 
ernment of  the  Territory,  in  peaceful  and  successful  operation — the 
foreign  population  is  now  so  small  in  comparison  with  the  native 
population,  that  I  am  of  opinion  that  a  mixed  government  of  old 
and  new  forms  will  be  at  present  most  beneficial  and  wise. 

I  will  therefore  make  the  Organic  Laws  of  the  Territory  very  few 
and  strong,  and  leave  as  much  of  the  old  municipal  regulations  in 
force,  as  will  be  consistent  with  the  entire  change  of  Government. 

The  most  important  and  serious  subject  connected  at  present  with 
the  Government  of  California,  and  on  which  account  this  letter  is 
principally  written,  is  the  arrival  at  San  Francisco  of  some  of  the 
Mormons,^  and  the  expected  arrival  of  a  great  many  more,  who  are 
likely  to  give  me  more  trouble  than  our  "decided  enemies." 

You  will  see  by  my  Proclamation  of  the  17th  that  I  have  had  my 
eye  upon  them."  I  write  this  private  letter  and  sent  it  overland  by 
Express,  that  you  may  if  you  see  fit  send  me  by  the  return  messenger 
some  instructions  on  the  subject,  or  let  me  work  it  out  on  my  own 

We  have  taken  most  of  the  Military  leaders,  and  will  no  doubt 
take  the  others  who  have  not  fled  to  Mexico.  I  have  Expresses  going 
constantly  from  one  end  of  the  Territory  to  the  other,  and  all  is  now 
peaceful  and  quiet. 

My  word  is  at  present  the  law  of  the  land.  My  person  is  more  than 
regal.  The  haughty  Mexican  Cavalier  shakes  hands  with  me  with 
pleasure,  and  the  beautiful  women  look  to  me  with  joy  and  gladness 
as  their  friend  and  benefactor.  In  short  all  of  power  and  luxury  is 
spread  before  me,  through  the  mysterious  workings  of  a  beneficient 

No  man  could  or  ought  to  desire  more  of  power  and  respect,  but 
my  work  is  almost  done  here,  and  my  duty  calls  me  again  upon  the 
ocean,  to  protect  as  well  as  I  may,  the  lives  and  property  of  our  fel- 
low citizens  engaged  in  commerce.  I  will  go  without  the  least  hesita- 
tion, and  will  transfer  my  power  to  other  hands  without  repining. 

As  soon  as  I  can  safely  do  so  I  will  appoint  Major  Fremont  Gov- 
ernor and  Captain  Gillespie  Secretary  of  the  Territory.  They  both 


understand  the  people  and  their  language  and  I  think  are  eminently 
qualified  to  perform  the  duties,  which  I  shall  assign  to  them,  until 
your  pleasure  is  made  known  to  me. 

The  ardent  zeal  shown  by  them  throughout  deserves  this  compli- 
ment; besides  they  are  fully  possessed  of  my  views,  which  if  they  are 
worth  anything,  may  be  some  advantage  to  them. 

The  Battalion  increased  to  three  hundred  picked  men,  will  be  kept 
in  the  service,  and  will  be  quite  sufficient  to  defend  the  Territory. 

I  enclose  my  last  order  to  Major  Fremont,  that  you  may  see  how 
the  force  will  be  disposed  of.  I  earnestly  request  you  to  confirm  them 
in  their  places,  as  the  most  salutary  arrangement  that  can  be  made 
for  the  good  of  the  Territory. 

One  word  for  my  officers  and  crew — more  devoted  men  never 
walked  a  ship's  deck.  They  are  quite  willing  to  stay  with  me  as  long 
as  I  stay,  and  go  with  me  wherever  I  may  go,  and  I  should  be  sorry 
to  leave  them  behind. 

Will  you  not  compliment  them  under  your  own  hand  in  a  general 
order?  giving  me  permission  to  bring  the  ship  and  them  home  with 
me,  as  soon  as  the  war  is  over. 

They  deserve  it,  they  did  the  work;  and  have  secured  by  their  toil 
and  daring  this  beautiful  Empire.  I  have  made  this  request  of  the 
Secretary,  but  your  name  would  be  better. 

Major  Fremont  will  send  this  letter  with  my  despatches  to  the 
Secretary  of  the  Navy,  by  Express^  over  the  mountains,  and  in  four 
months  I  will  if  nothing  happens  to  prevent,  be  at  San  Francisco  to 
get  your  reply,  which  I  hope  you  will  return  immediately,  that  no 
unnecessary  delay  may  take  place  in  my  operations  here.  Your  faith- 
ful friend  and  obdt.  servt., 

R.  F.  Stockton 
To  His  Excellency 
James  K.  Polk 

President  of  the  United  States 
Washington,  D.  C. 

Lbk   (DNA-45,  Entry   395    [E-ZO-A],   Letterbook   of   Robert   F.   Stockton, 

1.  About  240  Mormons  had  arrived  at  San  Francisco  on  the  Brooklyn  on 
31  July  1846. 

2.  The  proclamation  excluded  from  the  territory  those  who  would  not  agree 
to  support  the  existing  government,  promised  religious  liberty  to  those  who 


did  pledge  allegiance,  and  forbade  on  penalty  of  deportation  the  carrying  of 
arms  without  special  permission.  The  provision,  "Nor  will  any  persons,  come 
from  where  they  may,  be  permitted  to  settle  in  the  Territory,  who  do  not 
pledge  themselves  to  be,  in  all  respects,  obedient  to  the  laws  which  may  be 
from  time  to  time  enacted  by  the  proper  authorities  of  the  Territory,"  was 
particularly  aimed  at  the  Mormons.  Stockton's  proclamation  to  the  people 
of  California,  17  Aug.  1846,  is  printed  in  House  Exec.  Doc.  4,  pp.  669-70, 
29th  Cong.,  2nd  sess..  Serial  497. 

3.  The  express  was  Kit  Carson,  who  was  ordered  to  go  to  Washington  in 
sixty  days  (carson.  111).  With  fifteen  men  and  fifty  mules,  each  mule  carrying 
one  bushel  of  dried  corn,  he  left  Los  Angeles  on  5  Sept.  When  he  met  Gen- 
eral Kearny  175  miles  from  Santa  Fe  at  present-day  Socorro  on  the  Rio 
Grande,  thirty-one  days  later,  only  eighteen  mules  had  survived  {Missouri 
Republican,  16  Nov.  1846).  According  to  JCF,  Carson  was  selected  "to 
insure  the  safety  and  speedy  delivery  of  these  important  papers,  and  as  a 
reward  for  brave  and  valuable  service  on  many  occasions.  .  .  .  He  was  to  go 
direct  to  Senator  Benton  at  Washington,  who  would  personally  introduce 
him  to  the  President  and  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  and  to  whom  he  could  give 
in  fulness  the  incidental  detail  always  so  much  more  interesting  than  the 
restricted  official  report.  .  .  .  On  his  way  he  would  see  his  family  at  Taos, 
New  Mexico,  through  which  lay  his  shortest  road  to  the  frontier.  It  was  a 
service  of  high  trust  and  honor,  but  of  great  danger  also.  .  .  .  He  went  off, 
charged  with  personal  messages  and  personal  feelings,  and  I  looked  to  his 
arrival  at  home  and  the  deep  interest  and  pleasure  he  would  bring  to  them 
there,  almost  with  the  pleasure  I  should  feel  in  getting  there  myself — it  was 
touching  home.  Going  off  at  the  head  of  his  own  party  with  carte  blanche  for 
expenses  and  the  prospect  of  novel  pleasure  and  honor  at  the  end  was  a 
culminating  point  in  Carson's  life"  (memoirs,  567).  JCF  never  forgave 
Kearny  for  turning  Carson  back  and  using  him  as  his  guide  to  California, 
sending  the  dispatches  on  to  Washington  by  Fitzpatrick,  who  incidentally 
was  also  highly  regarded  by  JCF  and  who  had  been  with  him  on  the  1843- 
44  expedition.  Philip  St.  George  Cooke  grumbled  that  with  Kearny's  order, 
the  express  for  JCF's  mail  was  able  to  requisition  twenty-one  of  the  best 
mules  in  Santa  Fe  (cooke,  93). 

58.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 


August  27th.  1846 

On  my  arrival  in  this  City  I  found  that  the  Furniture  had  all  been 
removed  from  the  Government  House,  and  that  the  Archives  of  the 
Government  had  also  been  carried  ofT. 

Some  of  the  Furniture  has  been  restored  since  my  Proclamation 


Christopher  Carson.  From  a  print  at  the  University  of  Illinois.  Collection 

of  Donald  Jackson. 


on  that  subject  by  an  individual;  and  I  have  reason  to  believe  there  is 
more  of  it  in  the  City — and  that  there  are  some  important  Public 
Documents  in  the  House  of  a  citizen. 

You  are  therefore  authorized  and  required  to  seize  the  Archives, 
and  al.l  other  Public  Property  that  you  may  be  enabled  to  find  in  this 
City,  or  elsewhere  in  the  Territory ;  and  to  keep  them  securely  until 
a  future  Governor  and  the  Legislative  Council  shall  otherwise  direct. 
Faithfully,  Yr.  obdt.  servt., 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Governor  and  Commander  in  Chief  of  the  Territory  of  California 


Major  Fremont 
California  Battalion 
Ciudad  de  los  Angeles 

Lbk   (DNA-45,  Entry  395    [E-20-A],  Letterbook  of  Robert  F.   Stockton, 

59.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

Ciudad  de  los  Angeles 
August  31st.  1846 

You  will  proceed  as  soon  as  your  other  duties  will  permit,  to  St. 
Johns  near  Monterey,  and  ascertain  the  views  of  Captain  Fauntleroy 
and  Mr.  McLane  in  relation  to  remaining  in  the  service  of  the  Terri- 
tory, and  the  number  of  men  under  their  command,  and  how  many 
of  them  will  enter  for  the  Battalion.^ 

You  will  then  go  on  to  San  Francisco,  where  you  will  see  Com- 
mander Montgomery,  who  will  inform  you  how  many  men  he  has 
enlisted  into  the  service  of  the  United  States,  who  will  answer  for 
the  Battalion. 

After  which  you  may  adopt  the  best  measures  to  get  rid  of  any 
surplus,  or  to  supply  any  deficiency.  The  Battalion  may  consist  of 
Three  hundred,  exclusive  of  officers. 

If  you  should  fall  in  with  Lieutenant  Maddox"  you  will  also  ascer- 


tain  his  views  and  wishes  as  to  remaining  in  the  service  of  the  Terri- 
tory. Faithfully,  Yr.  obdt.  servt., 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Commander  in  Chief  of  the  Territory  of  California 

Major  Fremont 
California  Battalion 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Entry  395  [E-20-A].  Letterbook  of  Robert  F.  Stockton, 

1.  Daingerfield  Fauntleroy  (d.  1853)  had  been  temporarily  relieved  of  his 
duties  as  purser  on  the  Savannah  on  8  July  1846  by  Commodore  Sloat  in 
order  to  organize  a  company  of  dragoons.  The  company,  made  up  of  sailors 
from  the  warships  in  Monterey  Bay  and  civilian  volunteers,  would  garrison 
San  Juan  Bautista.  an  outpost  to  the  defenses  of  Monterey.  Naval  Acting 
Lieut.  Louis  McLane  (1819-1905)  of  the  Levant  was  the  first  lieutenant  in 
Fauntleroy's  troop.  For  the  activities  of  these  horse  marines  in  July  and 
August  in  guarding  the  lines  of  communication  to  the  north  and  south  and 
in  quelling  marauding  Indians,  see  mc  lane,  84-86,  and  ames  [2].  Fauntleroy 
was  ordered  back  to  his  duties  as  purser  on  18  Sept.  1846,  and  McLane 
turned  his  attention  to  recruiting  for  the  California  Battalion.  When  its 
reorganization  was  complete,  he  was  captain  of  artillery  (later  major)  and 
was  subsequendy  one  of  JCF's  commissioners  who  signed  the  Treaty  of 

2.  Lieut.  William  A.  T.  Maddox  (1814-89)  had  commanded  the  Marine 
squad  raising  the  U.S.  flag  in  San  Diego  a  few  weeks  earUer.  and  after  the 
reoccupation  of  Los  Angeles  he  had  gone  to  Monterey  with  the  companies 
of  Henry  L.  Ford  and  Granville  P.  Swift.  Near  San  Luis  Obispo  they 
captured  and  paroled  some  Californian  officers,  including  Jose  de  Jesus  Pico, 
who  was  later  to  break  his  parole.  Commodore  Stockton  arrived  at  Monterey 
with  the  Congress  on  15  Sept.,  and  on  the  18th  Maddox  was  made  com- 
mandant of  the  Central  District  with  the  rank  of  captain  in  the  CaHfornia 
Battalion  (b.-vncroft,  5:282,  289-90).  In  1857  he  helped  suppress  the  Plug- 
Ugly  riot  in  Washington,  D.C.,  and  from  that  year  to  1878  was  stationed 
in  I^hiladelphia  in  charge  of  the  Marine  Battalion's  assistant  quartermaster's 
office.  Three  naval  destroyers  have  been  named  for  him  (DNA-45,  Entry  464, 
Subject  File  ZB;  naval  ships,  4:188-90). 

60.   Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

CiuDAD  DE  LOS  Angeles,  September  1,  1846 

The  amount  of  money  for  which  you  have  made  a  requisition  can- 
not be  furnished  you  at  this  time.  Mr.  [William]  Speiden,  the  purser 


of  the  Congress,  says  he  can  only  spare  twenty  thousand  dollars; 
which  I  hope  will  answer  your  purposes  until  we  hear  from  home, 
and  receive  information  from  the  government  how  and  where  (if 
hostilities  continue)  we  can  be  furnished  with  funds.^ 

It  is  quite  probable  that  we  may  not  be  able  to  get  any  money  at 
Mazatlan.  Respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

R.  F.  Stockton, 
Commander-in-chief,  &c. 
Major  Fremont,  California  battalion 

Printed  in  ex.  martial,  290. 

1.  JCF  had  already  obtained  $L000  in  gold,  "equal  to  sixteen  dollars  to  the 
ounce  or  doubloon,"  on  16  Aug.  from  purser  Speiden,  $500  on  25  Aug.,  and 
$1,000  on  27  Aug.  1846  (see  Presidential  Message  on  the  Accounts  of  John  C. 
Fremont,  Senate  Exec.  Doc.  109,  pp.  14-17,  34th  Cong.,  1st  sess.,  Serial  825). 

61.  Fremont's  Appointment  as 
Military  Commandant 

[Los  Angeles] 
[2  Sept.  18461 
Know  all  men  by  these  presents  : 

That  I,  Robert  F.  Stockton,  governor  and  commander-in-chief  of 
the  territory  of  California,  reposing  special  confidence  in  the  ability 
and  patriotism  of  Major  J.  C.  Fremont,  of  the  United  States  army, 
do  hereby  appoint  him  to  be  the  military  commandant  of  the  terri- 
tory of  California. 

To  have  and  to  exercise  all  the  powers  and  privileges  of  that  office 
until  the  governor  of  the  said  territory  shall  otherwise  direct. 

Therefore,  by  these  presents,  I  do  hereby  command  all  civil  and 
military  officers  and  citizens  to  obey  him  accordingly. 

Given  under  my  hand  on  this  second  day  of  September,  Anno 
Domini  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  forty-six. 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Ciudad  de  los  Angeles,  Sept.  2,  1848  [1846] 

Printed  in  cT.  martial,  110. 


62.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Frigate  Congress 
Bay  of  San  Pedro 
September  4th.  1846 

When  you  send  orders  to  Captain  Ford^  to  proceed  to  San  Fran- 
cisco, you  will  please  to  write  to  Lieutenant  Maddox,  that  it  is  my 
wish  that  he  should  go  to  that  place  and  await  my  arrival,  or  the 
arrival  of  this  Ship;  when  he  will  report  himself  to  the  Command- 
ing officer  for  further  orders. 

You  will  also  leave  with  Captain  Gillespie  for  Lieutenant  Maddox, 
a  note  to  the  same  effect,  in  case  he  should  return  to  the  Pueblo. 
Faithfully,  Yr.  obdt.  servt., 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Governor  and  Commander  in  Chief  of  the  Territory  of  California 


Major  Fremont 

Military  Commandant  of  the  Territory  of  California,  Ciudad  de  los 


Lbk  (DNA-45,  Entry  395  [E-20-A],  Letterbook  of  Robert  F.  Stockton, 

1.  Born  Noah  Eastman  Ford  in  New  Hampshire  in  1822,  this  officer  had 
taken  the  name  of  his  brother,  Henry  L.  Ford,  after  deserting  from  the 
dragoons  at  Carlisle  Barracks,  Pa.  He  stowed  away  for  California,  worked 
for  Sutter  as  a  hunter,  took  a  prominent  part  in  the  Bear  Flag  Revolt,  and 
commanded  in  the  fight  at  Olompali.  As  noted  in  Doc.  No.  59,  n.  2,  he  had 
gone  south  with  JCF  and  returned  north  by  land  with  Maddox.  Ford  later 
commanded  Company  B  of  the  reorganized  California  Battalion  and  was 
killed  in  1860  by  the  accidental  discharge  of  his  pistol  (rogers  [1]). 

63.   Fremont  to  Pierson  B.  Reading 

Ciudad  de  los  Angeles;  Sepr.  4.  1846 

You  will  immediately  embark  in  the  U.  S.  ship  Congress,  about  to 
sail  for  the  Bay  of  San  Francisco,  via  Monterey. 


On  your  arrival  at  Monterey  you  will  please  obtain  information  in 
regard  to  a  cavaUada  [caballada]  of  horses  (350),  which  were  left  in 
charge  of  the  commanding  officer  at  St.  Johns  on  our  departure  for 
San  Diego ;^  and  have  it  in  readiness  for  delivery  to  an  officer  who 
will  be  despatched  with  a  party  of  men  for  that  purpose.  The  officer 
sent  will  be  directed  to  report  to  you  at  Monterey. 

You  will  please  be  particularly  careful  to  let  no  animals  be  taken 
from  the  band  by  any  of  the  men  who  go  up  with  you  on  board  the 
ship.  As  the  cavallada  will  be  immediately  sent  to  the  Sacramento, 
any  private  horses  in  it  can  be  there  returned  to  their  owners.  Very 
respectfully  Your  Obedt.  Servt., 

J.  C.  Fremont, 
Military  Commandant  of  California 

ALS,  RC  (C).  Addressed,  "Reading,  Paymaster  California  Battalion  of 
U.  S.  Forces,  Angeles,  California."  Pierson  B.  Reading  (1816-68),  a  native 
of  New  Jersey,  had  come  to  California  in  1843  in  the  Chiles- Walker  party. 
Business  failures  in  the  cotton  market  in  Vicksburg  and  New  Orleans  had 
prompted  his  emigration  (steger).  He  worked  for  Sutter,  was  an  active 
Bear  Flagger,  and  some  of  the  volunteers  would  have  preferred  Reading  to 
JCF  as  commander  of  the  battalion  (harlan,  84-85).  After  the  war  Reading 
devoted  his  attention  primarily  to  business — mining  and  the  development  of 
his  Rancho  Buenaventura  in  Shasta  County — although  in  1851  he  was  an 
unsuccessful  candidate  for  governor. 

1.  The  commanding  officer  was  Daingerfield  Fauntleroy. 

64.  Fremont  to  Archibald  H.  Gillespie 

CiuDAD  DE  LOS  Angeles  ;  Scpr.  7.  1846 

Lieut.  G.  B.  Wilson,^  with  a  detachment  of  twenty  men  from 
company  E.,  has  been  placed  in  occupation  of  the  Caxon  Pass  [Cajon 
Pass],  through  which  leads  the  "Spanish  trail"  from  New  Mexico. 
He  has  been  directed  to  guard,  so  far  as  his  small  force  will  admit, 
the  neighboring  approaches  from  Sonora;  reporting  all  occurrences 
worthy  [of]  notice  immediately  to  yourself,  and  keeping  you  at  all 
times  well  informed  of  the  general  condition  of  the  Frontier. 

He  is  farther  directed  to  pursue,  bring  back,  and  deliver  to  you 


at  this  post,  all  persons  attempting  to  pass  the  Frontier  committed  to 
his  surveillance.  Very  Respectfully  Your  Obedt.  Servt., 

}.  C.  Fremont 
Military  Commandant  of  California 
Capt.  Archibald  Gillespie 
Military  Commandant  of  the  Southern  Department  of  California 

ALS,  RC  (CLU— Gillespie  Papers).  Endorsed. 

1.  JCF  has  made  an  error  in  the  initials  of  Benjamin  Davis  Wilson  (1811- 
78),  who  was  known  in  California  as  Benito.  A  native  of  Tennessee,  he  had 
immigrated  to  California  in  the  Workman  party  from  New  Mexico,  where 
he  had  resided  for  years  as  a  trapper  and  trader.  Within  a  few  weeks  after 
occupying  Cajon  Pass,  he  was  captured  with  nineteen  other  Americans  at 
the  Chino  rancho,  the  home  of  Isaac  Williams,  some  twenty-five  miles  east 
of  Los  Angeles.  Wilson  later  became  the  second  mayor  of  Los  Angeles,  the 
city's  foremost  railroad  booster,  and  state  senator  for  two  terms. 

In  his  "Observations"  Wilson  implies  that  Williams  betrayed  the  U.S. 
force  to  gain  favor  with  the  Californians  (wilson,  106-10). 

65.  Fremont  to  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin 

Mission  of  San  Jose 
[Sept..?  1846] 
Dear  Sir 

I  have  examined  carefully  the  business  of  which  we  were  speak- 
ing, approve  your  intentions,  and  enter  into  the  agreement  with  you 

This  is  a  pretty  place,  this  mission."  The  gardens  or  orchards 
might  be  made  handsome  places  but,  to  render  them  valuable,  who- 
ever possesses  them  in  the  new  state  of  things  should  possess  also  the 
water  which  no[w]  supplies  these  vineyards  and  which  comes  from 
a  ravine  or  arroyo  in  the  hills  behind.  A  handsome  plain  of  good 
land  extends  from  the  hills  towards  the  bay  and  could  be  well 
watered  and  highly  cultivated. 

There  are  some  valuable  bodies  of  land  from  this  around  the  bay 
towards  the  Mountain  Diavolo  [Diablo]  and  lying  under  it.  Two  of 
these  are  between  Pinole^  and  Marsh's,  one,  next  and  adjoining 
Pinole  belongs  to  the  Welch  family  (a  brother  in  law  of  Forbes)'* 
and  the  other  to  the  mother  in  law  of  Tom  Bowen,''  a  drunken  vaga- 


bond  about  the  Pueblo  San  Jose.  These  lands  lie  upon  the  bay.  I  shall 
be  glad  to  hear  from  you  at  any  opportunity  and  should  like  to  see 
you  at  an  early  day.  Call  upon  me  when  necessary.  Yours  truly, 

J.  C.  Fremont 

I  understand  that  one  of  the  orchards  here  belongs  to  Alvarado. 

Thomas  O.  Larkin  Esqre 

Naval  Agent  for  the  U.  States  in  California 

Printed  in  larkin,  5:255-56. 

1.  JCF's  business  agreement  with  Larkin  is  not  known. 

2.  The  Mission  San  Jose  in  Alameda  County  is  some  distance  from  the 
Pueblo  de  San  Jose.  With  a  party  of  thirty-five  or  forty  men,  JCF  had  left 
Los  Angeles  on  11  Sept.  At  Santa  Barbara  he  detached  Talbot  and  nine  men 
to  garrison  that  town  and,  guided  by  William  Knight,  proceeded  north 
toward  the  Sacramento  Valley  (memoirs,  570-72).  He  stopped  at  the  Mis- 
sion San  Jose  and  other  setded  places  to  recruit  for  his  battalion  of  300  and 
to  sound  out  the  American  settlers  on  their  attitude  toward  enlisting  in  a 
battalion  which  Stockton  desired  to  organize  for  a  movement  on  Mexico  (see 
Doc.  No.  66).  This  letter  indicates  that  while  he  was  caring  for  pubHc 
business,  JCF  was  not  adverse  to  promoting  his  private  interest — that  of 
acquiring  valuable  land.  It  may  have  been  at  this  time  or  earlier  that  he 
acquired  several  fifty-vara  lots  in  San  Francisco  (as  did  Stockton  and  Sloat), 
which  Leidesdorff  later  hired  Jacob  W.  Harlan  to  fence  (harlan,  110).^ 

3.  The  Pinole  rancho.  Contra  Costa  County,  owned  by  Ignacio  Martinez. 

4.  The  family  of  William  Welsh,  who  had  come  to  California  as  a  sailor, 
probably  from  Scotland,  was  a  large  one— there  being  eight  sons  and 
daughters.  The  brother-in-law  was  James  Alexander  Forbes  (d.  1881),  also  a 
Scot  and  the  British  vice-consul  in  California. 

5.  Tom  Bowen's  distillery  business  failed  in  1844.  A  trapper  from  New 
Mexico,  Bowen  had  been  Hving  in  San  Jose  since   1836  (pioneer  register: 

GIFFEN    [2],  25). 

66.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 


United  States  Frigate  Congress 
Harbour  of  San  Francisco,  September  28,  1846 

I  am  here  anxious  to  know^  what  prospect  there  is  of  your  being 
able  to  recruit  my  thousand  men,  for  a  visit  to  Mexico. 


Let  me  know  as  soon  as  possible,  many  serious  arrangements  will 
have  to  be  made,  all  requiring  more  or  less  time,  which,  you  know 
in  war,  is  more  precious  than  "rubies."  Your  faithful  and  obedient 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Governor,  &c. 

To  Major  Fremont,  Military  Commandant  of  the  Territory  of  Cali- 

Copy  of  enclosure  4  in  Stockton  to  George  Bancroft,  23  Nov.  1846  (DNA- 
45,  Pacific  Squadron,  Commodore  Stockton,  1846-47).  On  19  Sept.  Stockton 
had  written  confidentially  to  Capt.  William  Mervine,  now  in  command  of  the 
Savannah,  that  he  had  sent  JCF  north  to  see  how  many  men  he  could  recruit, 
"with  a  view  to  embark[ing]  them  for  Mazatlan  or  Acapulco,  where,  if 
possible,  I  intend  to  land  and  fight  our  way  as  far  on  to  the  city  of  Mexico 
as  I  can."  He  wanted  Mervine  to  have  the  ships  of  the  squadron  located 
where  he  might  get  them  together  as  soon  as  possible.  And  on  1  Oct.  he 
wrote  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  that  he  would  send  the  Savannah  "on  her 
cruise  tomorrow,  and  the  Portsmouth  in  a  few  days,  and  will  follow  myself 
in  the  Congress  as  soon  as  I  can  (if  not  sooner  superseded  by  Commodore 
Biddle),  to  carry  out  my  views  in  regard  to  Mexico,  with  which  I  have  not 
thought  it  necessary  or  expedient  yet  to  acquaint  the  Department."  Both 
letters  are  printed  in  Report  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  Communicating 
Copies  of  Commodore  StocJ{ton's  Despatches  Relating  to  the  Military  and 
Naval  Operations  in  California,  Senate  Doc.  31,  pp.  13-15,  30th  Cong.,  2nd 
sess.,  Serial  531. 

But  Stockton's  vision  of  shaking  hands  with  General  Taylor  at  the  gates 
of  Mexico  City  was  shattered  the  very  day  he  penned  the  note  to  the 
Secretary  of  the  Navy.  John  Brown,  better  known  as  Juan  Flaco,  arrived 
with  Gillespie's  pleas  for  immediate  aid,  for  the  Angelenos  had  risen  in 
revolt  and  his  garrison  was  under  siege.  In  fact,  before  Stockton  could  send 
relief,  Gillespie  was  forced  to  move  out  of  Los  Angeles  (28  or  29  Sept.)  to  San 
Pedro,  where  his  force  was  to  surrender  its  artillery  to  the  Californians  and 
embark  on  the  Vandalia  for  Monterey.  The  Vandalia  was  able  to  remain  at 
San  Pedro,  but  for  a  time  the  men  were  confined  to  the  ship  (marti,  75-83). 

Stockton  canceled  his  plans  to  go  to  Mexico,  sent  William  Mervine  in  the 
Savannah  to  aid  Gillespie,  and  hastily  summoned  JCF  to  San  Francisco  from 
the  Sacramento  Valley,  instructing  him  to  bring  as  many  men  and  saddles  as 
he  could  procure. 

Larkin,  who  in  time  became  a  prisoner  of  the  rebels,  attributed  the  dis- 
turbances to  CJillespie's  "harshness"  and  Stockton's  "cheap  way  of  conduct- 
ing." From  the  (Government  House  in  Los  Angeles  he  wrote  to  his  wife  on 
14  Dec,  "I  hear  from  many  of  the  People  of  the  Country  that  had  Dr. 
Gilcrist,  Lt.  A.  (key,  or  any  proper  and  prudent  person  been  left  here  by 
the  Como  all  this  disturbance  would  not  have  happened.  It  appears  even 
from  the  Americans  that  Captain  AH(i  punished  fined  and  imprisoned  who 
and  when  he  pleased  with(jut  any  hearing.  I  always  told  the  Como  he  should 
have  granted   the   Mexican   officers   their   request   to   be   sent   to   Mexico.   He 


would  not  that,  and  his  cheap  way  of  conducting — with  Capt  Gillespie's 
harshness  has  brot  the  country  to  its  present  pass.  Its  done,  I  am  a  Prisoner" 
(larkin,  5:310-15). 

67.   Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Frigate  Congress 

Harbour  of  San  Francisco 

October  1st.  1846 


I  send  a  Boat  to  Sonoma  for  you,  in  the  hopes  that  the  news  from 
the  South  has  brought  you  on  in  this  direction;  and  that  you  will  be 
ready  with  your  men  to  embark  with  me.  I  will  wait  until  the  4th 
for  you,  or  the  return  of  the  boat. 

Bring  with  you  as  many  men  as  you  can.  If  I  hear  that  you  are  on 

the  road  this  way,  I'll  wait  for  you.  Hurry!  Faithfully,  Yr.  obdt. 


R.  F.  Stockton 

Commodore  &c. 


Major  Fremont 

Military  Commandant  of  the  Territory  of  California 

[On  the  bac\  of  the  envelope:^  The  Boats  will  wait  an  answer  from 
Major  Fremont. 

Lbk   (DNA-45,  Entry   395    [E-20-A1,   Letterbook   of   Robert   F.   Stockton, 

68.   Fremont  to  Edward  M.  Kern 

Camp  Cosiimne  river,  Oct.  4  [1846] 
Dear  Sir, 

Please  send  me  our  brand  (letter  F)  should  Cosgrave^  not  have 

left.  Yrs.  truly, 

J.  C.  Fremont 


Do  not  detain  your  mail  [  ?]  for  me  as  Commodore  Stockton  leaves 
today,  but  send  him  immediately  with  information  [to]  the  neigh- 
boring people  that  we  want  men. 

Lieut.  Kerne, 

Comdg.  Fort  Sacramento 

The  greater  part  of  the  Sonoma  people  will  [  ?]  have  embarked  in 
the  Congress,  but  there  may  be  some  remaining  who  could  overtake 
us.  We  leave  tomorrow. 

DS,  RC  (CSmH). 

1.  "F"  was  branded  on  all  the  horses  belonging  to  JCF's  exploring  party. 
Anthony  Cosgrave,  a  blacksmith,  had  been  a  member  of  JCF's  exploring 
party.  He  would  later  use  his  talents  in  working  on  a  gun  carriage  at  Santa 
Barbara  (DNA-217,  T-135,  voucher  191;  DNA-92,  CaUfornia  Claims  Board, 
receipt  dated  5  Feb.  1847). 

69.  Fremont  to  Edward  M.  Kern 

[Fort  Sacramento] 
[7  Oct.  1846] 

Received  of  Lieut.  E.  M.  Kern  Commanding  Military  Post  Fort 
Sacramento,  Four  Horses  &  the  following  articles  for  the  use  of  the 
California  Battalion. 

77  lbs  Tobacco 

1  Keg  25  lbs  Powder 

J.  C.  Fremont 

Military  Commandant  of  U.  S.  Forces  in  California 

Oct  7  1846 

DS,  RC  (CSmH). 


70.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

October  13th.  1846 
Dear  Sir: 

Captain  Vincent  will  remain  at  Santa  Barbara  until  you  will  be 
able  to  decide  on  your  course  of  action. 

I  will  thank  you  to  write  to  me  by  him,  to  inform  me  of  your 
probable  approach  towards  the  Angeles. 

Wishing  you  great  success  and  honor,  I  am  most  truly  Yours 

R.  F.  Stockton 

Major  Fremont 
Military  Commandant  of  the  Territory  of  California 

Lbk   (DNA-45,  Entry  395    [E-20-A],  Letterbook  of  Robert  F.   Stockton, 

71.  Fremont  to  William  A.  Leidesdorfl 

Ship  Sterling,  Oct  14th  46 
Dear  Sir, 

I  would  be  indebted  to  you  to  forward  immediately  the  enclosed. 
Should  Dr.  Marsh  need  any  assistance  in  his  arrangements^  for  me 
please  supply  him  with  the  necessary  funds  until  my  return.  Yours 

J.  C.  Fremont 

Capt.  W.  Leidesdorff 

ALS,  RC  (CU-B).  Endorsed.  The  enclosure  has  not  been  identified.  JCF 
had  embarked  on  the  merchant  ship  Sterling  with  about  160  men  the  previous 
day,  under  orders  to  proceed  to  Santa  Barbara,  where  he  was  to  procure 
horses  to  march  to  Los  Angeles.  He  and  his  force  had  arrived  in  San  Fran- 
cisco from  the  Sacramento  region  on  12  Oct.,  having  traveled  the  last  stage 
of  their  journey  in  a  fleet  of  boats  commanded  by  Midshipman  Edward 
Beale,  whom  Stockton  had  sent  to  look  for  him  (memoirs,  574-75). 

1.  Dr.  John  Marsh  (d.   1856),  a   native  of  Massachusetts  with  a   medical 


diploma  from  Harvard,  came  to  California  in  1836  via  Wisconsin,  Missouri, 
New  Mexico,  and  Sonora.  He  acquired  a  rancho  at  the  foot  of  Mount  Diablo, 
which  he  named  Brentwood  and  where  he  became  wealthy  in  livestock 
(lyman).  His  "arrangements"  are  not  known.  While  Marsh  was  much 
interested  in  politics  and  wanted  California  to  become  a  part  of  the  United 
States,  he  actually  took  Uttle  part  in  the  political  troubles  of  1846-47. 

72.  Fremont  to  Edward  M.  Kern 

Ship  Sterling  ofT  Monterey  Oct  22/46 

Dear  Sir: 

Many  of  the  emigrants  who  will  come  to  us,  will  necessarily  leave 
their  families  unprovided  for  &  without  supplies.  I  know  that  you 
have  but  little  in  the  way  of  shelter  to  oflfer  them,  but  please  do  for 
them  in  that  respect  all  that  you  can;  for  any  supplies  that  they  may 
need,  please  send  to  Capt.  Leidesdorff  (at  Yerba  Buena)  who  will 
forward  them  to  you.  I  have  already  written  to  him  to  that  effect. 

•  •  •  • 

Tell  Jean  Dreau  [Gendreau]  that  I  have  directed  the  Walla  Wallas 
who  shall  come  to  me  to  leave  their  families  in  his  charge,  &  let  him 
know  that  you  will  send  to  Yerba  Buena  for  any  supplies  that  the 
families  may  want. 

•  •  •  • 

Truly  yours, 

J.  C.  Fremont 

Lt.  E.  M.  Kern 
Commg.  Sac.  Dist. 

Copy  of  excerpt  in  the  draft  of  a  letter  of  Edward  M.  Kern  to  Archibald 
Gillespie,  11  March  1853  (CSmH).  Kern  was  trying  to  answer  Gillespie's 
queries  regarding  events  in  the  conquest  of  California.  He  noted  that  there 
were  from  fifty  to  sixty  women  and  children  at  Sutter's  Fort  to  whom  he 
supplied  rations.  He  extracted  the  above  letter  from  JCF,  and  one  from  John 
B.  Montgomery,  2  Nov.  1846  (not  printed  here),  as  his  authority  for  doing 
so.  He  also  noted  that  he  had  had  horses  under  his  charge,  sometimes  as 
many  as  800.  "I  kept  them  at  a  grazing  camp  &  used  them  for  the  trans- 
portation of  recruits  from  my  post  to  different  parts  of  the  lower  country. 


...  A  good  number  of  them  taken  from  the  Sonoma  side  from  the 
Rancho  of  Genl.  Vallejo  were  national  Horses  and  branded  with  the  Govt. 
Iron  of  the  Mission  of  San  Rappael.  .  .  .  Genl.  Kearny  took  possession  of 
the  whole  band  when  he  came  to  the  Fort  without  receipting  for  them  to  me. 
There  were  then  there  as  well  as  my  memory  serves  me  (my  papers  having 
been  lost  in  the  Mts.  in  48  &  49  with  Fremont)  about  Five  hundred  head. 
What  became  of  the  balance  after  he  had  selected  sufficient  for  his  home- 
ward journey  I  do  not  know." 

73.  Fremont  to  John  B.  Montgomery 

Ship  Sterling,  Off  San  Antonio;  22d.  Oct.  46 

This  note  will  be  handed  you  by  Mr.  D.  Burruss,^  who  will  be 
able  to  give  you  some  interesting  information,  should  the  recent  oc- 
currences below  be  not  already  known  to  you.  I  have  despatched  Mr. 
Burruss  to  the  Sacramento  Valley,  via  Sonoma;  on  very  urgent  busi- 
ness for  the  government,  and  I  will  be  greatly  indebted  for  any 
facility  it  may  suit  your  convenience  to  afTord  him  forwarding  him 
on  his  way.  For  four  or  five  days  past  we  have  been  becalmed  within 
a  few  miles  of  our  present  position,  vainly  endeavoring  to  make 
Monterey.  A  boat  will  be  despatched  in  the  morning  which  will 
probably  anticipate  our  arrival  several  days,  should  the  calm  con- 
tinue. With  much  respect.  Your  Obedt.  Servt., 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Military  Commandant  of  California 
Captain  J.  B.  Montgomery 
U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth, 

Commanding  Northern  Department  of  California,  San  Francisco 

ALS,  RC  (DNA-45.  Area  9  File,  Pacific).  Endorsed:  "Reed,  at  San  Fran- 
cisco." JCF  and  Stockton  had  sailed  on  separate  vessels  for  the  south,  but  on 
the  first  evening  out  of  San  Francisco  the  Sterling  became  separated  from  the 
Congress  in  the  fog.  When  two  days  later  she  fell  in  with  the  Vandalia,  JCF 
learned  that  the  insurrection  against  Gillespie  had  spread  over  all  of  the 
southern  half  of  California  and  that  the  California ns  had  driven  stock  into  the 
interior.  As  mounts  were  not  to  be  had,  JCF  decided  to  sail  to  Monterey, 
collect  horses,  men,  provisions,  and  ammunition,  and  march  overland.  As 
this  letter  indicates,  the  lack  of  wind  slowed  his  voyage  to  Monterey,  but  he 
finally  entered  the  harbor  on  27  Oct.  Welcoming  him  at  Monterey  was  the 


news  of  his  appointment  as  lieutenant  colonel  in  the  Army   (cT.   martial, 

^^^)-  .  .        . 

1.  JCF  was  sending  the  popular  Charles  D.  Burrass,  sometimes  referred  to 

as  Burroughs  or  Burruss,  to  recruit  and  equip  members  for  the  California 
Battalion.  He  was  from  St.  Louis  and  was  in  command  at  the  battle  of 
Natividad  on  the  Salinas  Plains,  16  Nov.  1846 — a  battle  in  which  he  lost  his 
life  (Doc.  No.  90;  26  June  1847  letter  of  William  R.  Russell,  Missouri  Repub- 
lican, 17  May  1847;  California  Star,  21  Aug.  1847). 

74.  Charles  D.  Burrass  to  Fremont 

Yerba  Buena  Oct  26th  1846 

You  will  pay  to  W.  A.  Leidesdorff  Thirty  Dollars  in  payment  of 
one  Rifle  Gun  Bullet  Moulds  &  shot  pouch.  For  the  use  of  California 
BattaUon.  Yrs.  Respectfully, 

C.  D.  Burrass 

Major  J.  C.  Fremont 

Military  Commandant  of  California 

ALS,  RC  (CU-B).  Endorsed. 

75.  Fremont  to  Robert  F.  Stockton 

[27  Oct.  1846] 

•  •  •  • 

We  met  the  Vandalia  with  information  of  the  occurrences  below. 
Mr.  Howard^  represented  that  the  enemy  had  driven  off  all  the 
horses  and  cattle,  so  that  it  would  be  impossible  to  obtain  either  for 
transportation  or  supplies.  Under  the  circumstances,  and  using  the 
discretionary  authority  you  have  given  me,  I  judged  it  of  paramount 
necessity  to  haul  up  immediately  for  this  port,  with  the  intention  to 
send  for  all  the  men  who  could  be  raised  in  the  north,  and  for  the 
band  of  horses  which  1  had  left  on  the  Consumne.  In  the  meantime 
we  should  be  able  to  check  the  insurrection  here,  and  procure  horses 


and  supplies,  so  as  to  be  in  readiness  to  march  to  the  southward  im- 
mediately on  the  arrival  of  our  reinforcements. 

•  •  ■  • 

[J.  C.  Fremont] 

Excerpt,  printed  in  memoirs,  579-80.  The  complete  letter  has  not  been 
found,  but  its  contents  are  substantiated  by  Stockton  in  a  letter  to  the  Secre- 
tary of  the  Navy,  23  Nov.  1846,  from  San  Diego  (stockton.  Appendix  A, 
pp.  4-6). 

For  our  determination  of  date,  see  Mervine  to  Fremont,  14  Nov.  1846, 
Doc.  No.  84.  The  letter  was  received  from  the  Male}{  Adhel  by  Stockton, 
w^ho  was  ofif  the  coast  of  San  Diego  about  1  Nov. 

1.  Bostonian  William  Davis  Merry  Howard  (1819-56),  who  had  been 
supercargo  of  the  Vandalia  from  1843  to  1845,  was  now  associated  with  Henry 
Melius  in  the  mercantile  business  in  San  Francisco.  The  two  men  had  pur- 
chased the  property  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company.  For  biographical  details 
and  some  of  Howard's  letters  to  his  second  wife,  see  whitwell. 

76.  John  B.  Montgomery  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 
San  Francisco,  Oct.  29th.  1846 

Your  letter  by  Mr.  Burrass  reached  me  on  the  evening  of  the  27th 
&  in  two  hours  after  he  w^as  on  his  way  in  one  of  my  boats  to 
Sonoma,  with  orders  to  Lieut.  Revere  at  that  post  to  speed  him  on 
his  way  to  Fort  Sacramento. 

On  the  Uth  inst.  receiving  intelligence  from  Lieut.  Maddox  of  the 
agitated  state  of  affairs  about  Monterey  &  the  probability  of  an  attack 
upon  that  place  I  despatched  boats  to  Sonoma  &  the  Fort  Sacra- 
mento, with  direction  to  the  officers  in  command  to  go  on  with  en- 
listments for  the  general  Service  &  forward  couriers  from  the  Fort 
to  intercept  &  hasten  the  arrival  of  approaching  Emigrants  which 
was  promptly  done  by  Mr.  Kern  who  has  sent  down  in  my  launch 
twenty-four  men  with  an  intimation  that  others  will  be  ready  to 
come  down  on  the  return  of  the  boat  which  I  shall  not  now  send 
since  Mr.  Burrass  informed  me  that  all  will  be  required  to  attend 
the  caballada  which  he  expects  to  obtain  at  the  Fort. 

Several  days  since  I  directed  Mr.  [Lansford  W.]  Hastings  to  pro- 


ceed  to  the  Pueblo  of  San  Jose  &  to  engage  such  of  the  emigrants  as 
may  have  reached  that  place  &  despatched  at  the  same  time  a  party 
of  men  with  orders  to  collect  all  good  horses  between  this  &  the 
Pueblo  for  the  Public  Service  to  be  forwarded  in  a  few  days  with  the 
troops  collecting  here,  probably  in  charge  of  Capt.  Grigsby  should 
he  return  to  this  place. 

Having  had  much  difficulty  heretofore  in  procuring  rifle  caps  I 
have  deemed  it  proper  to  purchase  a  lot  of  10,000  which  I  hope  to 
forward  you  by  Capt.  Grigsby  whose  receipt  in  your  behalf  will  be 
required.  I  have  also  purchased  &  supplied  each  recruit  with  a  horn 
of  rifle  powder  to  be  included  in  the  receipt. 

All  the  troops  forwarded  from  here  will  be  supplied  with  Blan- 
kets, necessary  clothing  &  tobacco  from  the  Stores  of  the  Portsmouth, 
an  account  of  which  I  will  cause  to  be  forwarded  to  be  charged  to 
their  respective  accts.  of  pay. 

I  sincerelv  hope  Sir  that  you  may  be  enabled  to  efFect  all  necessary 
arrangements  for  a  speedy  movement  upon  the  enemy  in  the  South 
before  the  advance  of  the  rainy  season  shall  present  new  difficulties 
to  be  overcome. 

The  natives  I  suppose  will  take  great  encouragement  from  their 
late  Success  in  driving  back  the  main  force  of  the  Savannah,  the 
news  of  their  victory,  as  it  is  termed  having  been  already  extensively 
circulated  through  the  country  with  the  view  of  enticing  all  to  their 
Standard.  It  was  an  unfortunate  mistake  under  the  circumstances  to 
attempt  an  advance  from  the  coast  without  cannon. 

Permit  me  Sir  to  express  to  you  my  sincere  congratulations  on 
your  recent  promotion  of  which  I  am  informed  by  my  son  in  a 
letter  received  a  few  days  since  from  Mazatlan.  I  am  Sir  Very  Respy. 
Your  Obt.  Servant, 

Jno.  B.  Montgomery 
Military  Commandant  of  the  Northn.  Dept.  of 
Calif.  &  Commander  of  U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 

Lieut.  Col. 
J.  C.  Fremont 
Military  Commandant  of  California 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  no.  22,  Officers'  Letters.  Letterbooks  of  J.  R.  Montgomery). 


11 .  Fremont  to  Edward  M.  Kern 

Monterey,  Octr.  30.  1846 

Dear  Sir, 

I  send  Mr.  Foster^  to  aid  in  enlisting  men  for  us.  Please  give  your 
aid.  Colonel  Wm.  H.  Russell"  will  be  with  you  soon  after  you  receive 

Congress  has  given  swords  to  the  officers  engaged  in  the  battle  at 
Rio  Grande,  and  promoted  [Zachary]  Taylor  to  be  Brigadier  Gen- 
eral, with  the  Brevet  of  Major  General.  Col.  Kearney  is  in  New 
Mexico  with  5000  men.  I  trust  that  you  have  fully  recovered  your 
health.  Yours  truly, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Lt.  Colonel  U.  S.  Army 
Lieutenant  Kerne 
Fort  Sacramento 

ALS,  RC  (Morristown  National  Historical  Park,  Morristown,  N.J.). 

1.  Joseph  E.  Foster,  who  was  killed  a  few  weeks  later  at  the  battle  of 
Natividad  with  Charles  D.  Burrass  and  Hiram  Ames. 

2.  William  H.  Russell  (1802-73),  sometimes  known  as  "Owl"  Russell, 
was  a  new  arrival  in  California,  having  come  in  August  from  Missouri  with 
a  party  of  emigrants.  A  lawyer,  he  had  served  as  representative  for  Nicholas 
County  in  the  Kentucky  legislature  and  as  U.S.  marshal  for  the  District  of 
Missouri.  He  was  to  become  a  major  in  the  California  Battalion,  help  frame 
the  Treaty  of  Cahuenga,  and  serve  JCF  as  secretary  of  state.  Upon  the  demise 
of  the  JCF  administration,  Russell  went  back  to  the  States  by  the  southern 
route  and  became  a  principal  witness  for  the  explorer  in  his  court-martial. 
He  returned  to  California  in  1849  and  practiced  law  in  San  Jose  and  else- 
where. For  additional  biographical  details,  see  morgan,  2:460-61. 

78.  John  B.  Montgomery  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 
San  Francisco,  Nov.  3rd.  1846 

By  Captain  Libby  of  Tasso^  I  forward  you  8,000  rifle  percussion 
caps,  two  thousand  having  been  served  to  troops  who  are  soon  to  join 
you.  More  can  not  be  obtained  at  this  place.  The  whole  stock  of  lead 


in  the  market  and  our  ships  supply  has  been  exhausted  in  furnishing 
balls  to  recruits.  A  small  quantity  of  Rifle  powder,  in  canisters,  re- 
mains in  the  hands  of  Mr.  Melius"  which  can  be  had  if  wanted. 

We  are  today  transporting  horses  from  Sausalito  to  this  place,  and 
I  hope  in  a  few  days  that  a  strong  Party  and  Caballada  will  proceed 
to  Monterey. 
In  haste,  I  am  Sir  Respy.  Your  Obt.  Servt., 

Jno.  B.  Montgomery 
Commanding  Northn.  Dept.  &  U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 

Please  sign  &  return  me  the  enclosed  receipt. 


Lt.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 

Military  Commandant  of  California,  Monterey 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  no.  22,  Officers'  Letters,  Letterbooks  of  J.  B.  Montgomery). 

1.  Capt.  Elliot  Libbey,  master  of  the  Tasso  in  1845-48  and  of  the  Com- 
modore Shubric\  in  1847.  A  note  in  JCF.'s  name,  but  written  and  signed  by 
William  H.  Russell  (to  Capt.  John  B.  Montgomery),  4  Nov.  1846,  from 
Yerba  Buena,  asks  Montgomery  to  pay  William  H.  Davis  the  value  of  15,000 
percussion  caps  bought  for  the  U.S.  troops  "under  my  command  and  sent 
to  my  headquarters  in  the  bark  Tasso"  (CtY).  William  Heath  Davis  (1822- 
1909)  had  just  established  himself  as  a  merchant  in  San  Francisco,  but  he 
had  been  in  and  out  of  California  for  many  years,  acting  as  clerk  and  agent 
for  various  commercial  firms.  For  a  biography  of  this  Honolulu-born  son  of 
a  Boston  shipmaster,  see  rolle  f  1  ] .  Davis's  own  history  of  events  and  life 
in  California  may  be  found  in  his  Seventy-five  Years  in  California  (San 
Francisco,  1929). 

2.  Henry  Melius  (1815-60)  made  his  first  voyage  to  California  in  1835  on 
the  Pilgrim  with  Richard  Henry  Dana.  He  settled  permanently  in  California 
in  1839  as  the  agent  or  supercargo  of  the  vessels  of  William  Appleton  and 
Co.  In  1845  he  formed  a  partnership  with  W.  D.  M.  Howard  and  amassed  a 
considerable  fortune  through  the  firm  of  Melius  &  Howard  in  the  San 
Francisco  region. 

79.  John  B.  Montgomery  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 
Yerba  buena,  Nov.  4th.  1846. 

The  following  arms  have  been  purchased  by  this  ship  &  have  been 
issued  to  the  men  whose  names  are  specified. 
One  Rifle  for  $20  to  Robt.  Neil 


One  Rifle  for  $25  to  Peter  (an  Indian) 

One  Rifle  for  $25  to  George  Smith 

Eight  Rifles  deHvered  to  Capt.  Grigsby  for  which  he  has  given  his 
receipt  (bill  not  rendered).  The  men,  Neil,  Peter,  &  Smith,  have 
signed  receipts  for  their  rifles. 

Besides  the  above  arms  purchased  there  have  been  delivered  of 
arms  brought  from  Sonoma,  the  following  for  which  receipts  are 

To  Amasa  Heit  [Hoyt?]  one  musket 

To  C.  F.  Caldwell  one  musket 

To  J.  C.  Furgason  [Ferguson]  one  musket 

To  Jno.  Frederick  one  musket 

To  Andrew  Farley  one  shot  rifle 

To  George  Coats  one  carbine 

To  Thomas  Frith  [Firth?]  one  carbine 

To  Frank  Wilcox  one  carbine 

Each  Recruit  who  has  passed  through  the  ship  has  been  furnished 
with  caps  to  make  up  115  [15?]  (Percussion)  &  from  one  to  two  lbs. 
of  lead,  with  a  horn  of  rifle  powder  beside  such  clothing  as  the  store 
room  of  the  ship  could  furnish;  of  the  latter,  I  send  you  herewith  a 
statement  of  amounts,  issued  to  the  Volunteers,  as  set  opposite  their 
respective  names  to  be  deducted  from  their  accounts  in  final  settle- 
ment. I  am  Respy.  Yr.  Obt.  Servt. 

Jno.  B.  Montgomery 
Comdg.  Northn.  Dept.  of  Calia. 
&  of  the  U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 

Lt.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 
Military  Comdt.  of  California 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  no.  22,  Officers'  Letters,  Letterbooks  of  }.  R.  Montgomery). 

80.   Fremont  to  Jacob  Antoine  Mocrenhout 

Monterey,  November  7th.  1846 

Two  communications  addressed  by  yourself  to  Captain  William 
A.  Maddox,  Commandant  of  Monterey,  have  been  referred  by  him 
for  my  consideration.^ 


From  the  representation  made  to  me  by  Captain  Maddox,  I  am 
satisfied  that  the  claim  for  damages  which  has  been  brought  for- 
ward, is  highly  exaggerated,  and  altogether  unfounded  in  fact.  I 
have  accordingly  directed  him  to  furnish  this  office  with  a  certified 
statement  of  the  case,  which  appears  clearly  sufficient  to  invalidate 
the  claim." 

In  the  present  disorganized  condition  of  the  country,  when  the 
civil  officers  have  been  suspended  in  the  exercise  of  their  usual  func- 
tions, the  French  Consul  could  not  have  reasonably  expected  that 
subjects  of  his  nation  should  continue  in  the  enjoyments  of  their 
customary  political  and  commercial  privileges,  or  that  any  exception 
in  their  favor  should  be  made  from  such  restrictions  and  regulations 
as  to  the  military  authorities  of  the  Territory  might  appear  ex- 
pedient and  salutary. 

As  the  French  Consul  appears  to  entertain  very  different  views, 
his  farther  residence  at  Monterey  would  evidently  create  embarrass- 
ment and  lead  to  a  frequent  correspondence,  for  which,  at  this  time, 
there  can  be  neither  the  necessary  leisure  nor  disposition. 

Reminding  Mr.  Moerenhout  that  he  is  accredited  to  the  Mexican 
Department  of  California,  and  that  the  present  exercise  of  his  func- 
tions is  due  only  from  the  courtesy  of  the  officer  representing  the 
United  States,  I  have  judged  it  advisable  and  proper  to  enclose  a 
passport  to  San  Francisco,  in  the  hope  that,  as  it  would  be  very  satis- 
factory to  the  authorities  now  in  this  Department,  it  would  not  be 
disagreeable  to  the  French  Consul  to  transport  his  office  to  that 

Availing  myself  of  this  occasion  to  offer  to  Mr.  Moerenhout  the  as- 
surance of  my  great  personal  consideration,  I  am,  very  respectfully, 

(Signe)  J.  C.  Fremont, 

Lieut.  Colonel  U.  States  Army,  and 

Military  Commandant  of  the 

Territory  of  California 

Mr.  J.  A.  Moerenhout, 

Consul  for  His  Majesty  the  King  of  the  French 

Copy  enclosed  in  R.  B.  Mason  to  R.  Jones,  28  March  1849,  transmitting 
procedures  of  board  of  officers  investigating  complaint  by  the  French  minister 
(DNA-94,  LR,  M-376  1849).  A  copy  is  also  in  DNA-45,  Area  9  File,  Pacific. 
Author  of  the  celebrated  Voyages  aux  ties  du  grand  ocean  (Paris,  1837), 
Jacob  Antoine  Moerenhout  (ca.  1797-1879)  had  arrived  in  California  in 
Oct.  1846  to  take  up  his  duties  as  French  consul.  He  came  from  Tahiti,  where 


he  had  been  engaged  in  trade  and  where  he  had  represented  as  consular 
agent  not  only  France  but  also  the  United  States  for  a  short  time.  For  a 
biographical  sketch,  see  nasatir,  12:155-58. 

1.  The  first  letter  of  Moerenhout  to  Maddox,  commander  at  Monterey,  4 
Nov.  1846,  complained  of  the  revocation  of  a  permit  previously  given  to 
Clement  Panaud  to  take  care  of  business  interests  in  San  Jose.  The  French 
consul  charged  that  the  revocation  was  made  on  the  "frivolous"  pretext  that 
Panaud  had  two  pistols  in  his  house  in  Monterey.  The  second  letter,  dated 
7  Nov.,  noted  JCF's  discourtesy  in  failing  to  reply  (Maddox  had  told 
Moerenhout  that  the  matter  had  been  referred  to  JCF)  and  informed  Maddox 
that  he  maintained  "all  the  rights  of  the  Frenchman,  Panaud,  who  is  ex- 
posed to  total  ruin,  in  consequence  of  the  severe  measures  adopted  towards 
him  by  the  American  authorities."  Copies  of  Moerenhout's  letter  to  Maddox 
are  in  R.  B.  Mason  to  R.  Jones,  28  March  1849  (DNA-94,  LR,  M-376  1849). 

2.  The  American  version  was  that  Panaud  had  been  arrested  because  he 
was  carrying  pistols,  contrary  to  the  order  of  the  military  commandant  that 
only  those  in  the  service  of  the  United  States  could  bear  arms. 

81.  Jacob  Antoine  Moerenhout  to  Fremont 

To  Lieut.  Colonel  Fremont 

Military  Commandant  of  the  Territory  of  California 

Consulate  of  France  at  Monterey 
Monterey,  November  8th.  1846 

The  Undersigned,  Consul  of  France  at  Monterey,  has  received  the 
letter  which  Lieut.  Col.  Fremont,  Military  Commandant  of  the 
Territory  of  California  did  him  the  honor  to  address  to  him,  under 
date  of  yesterday.  The  Undersigned  considers  it  his  duty  to  observe 
to  the  Colonel,  in  reply — 

(1)  That  the  invoice  which  he  had  the  honor  to  present  to  Capt. 
Maddox  is  an  exact  copy  of  the  original,  which  M.  Panaud  gave 
him,  and  which  he  declares  to  be  true.^ 

(2)  That  he  has  required  nothing  of  an  exceptional  nature  in 
favor  of  the  people  of  his  nation;  that  he  limited  himself  to  soliciting 
verbally,  from  Capt.  Maddox  some  slight  favors  for  Frenchmen, 
such  as  receipts  for  horses  which  had  been  taken  from  them,  or  per- 
mits for  those  who,  having  come  to  Monterey  on  business,  wished  to 
return  to  their  residences  at  Santa  Cruz. 

(3)  That  so  far  from  having  wished  to  render  himself  trouble- 
some, or  importunate,  as  Colonel  Fremont  seems  to  intend  to  insinu- 


ate,  the  Undersigned,  notwithstanding  the  injuries  suffered  by  his 
countrymen,  has  made  but  one  request  officially,  and  in  writing  in 
favor  of  Panaud,  because  in  withdrawing  from  the  said  Panaud  the 
permit  given  him  by  Capt.  Maddox  to  go  to  the  interior,  he  has  been 
gratuitously  wronged,  and  has  been  exposed  by  this  severe  measure 
to  the  loss  of  the  goods  which  he  had  despatched,  as  also  of  others 
which  he  had  on  the  way,  and  at  San  Jose  and  at  Santa  Cruz. 

It  will  doubtless  appear  very  strange,  that,  for  such  acts,  and  in  a 
case  in  which  the  Undersigned  has  remained  strictly  within  the 
duties  and  attributes  of  his  office,  he  should  receive  notice  that  it  would 
be  proper  for  him  to  change  his  residence  and  his  Consulate.  The 
Undersigned  has  therefore  the  honor  to  send  back  to  Col.  Fremont 
the  permit  of  Captain  Maddox,  as,  being  the  Consul  of  His  Majesty 
the  King  of  the  French,  in  this  country,  it  is  only  the  King  of  the 
French  or  his  Government  which  can  order  him  to  change  his  resi- 
dence. The  Undersigned  will  nevertheless  make  known  to  his  Gov- 
ernment the  invitation  to  this  effect,  which  he  has  received  from  Col. 
Fremont,  in  his  character  of  Military  Commandant  of  the  Territory 
of  California. 

With  regard  to  the  paragraph  of  Col.  Fremont's  letter  in  which  he 
says  that  the  Undersigned  is  only  accredited  to  California,  a  Depart- 
ment of  Mexico,  the  Undersigned  acknowledges  that  he  does  not 
comprehend  it  entirely,  but  although  he  does  not  consider  himself 
required  to  give  any  explanation  on  this  subject  here,  he  will  add, 
that,  having  been  appointed  Consul  for  His  Majesty  the  King  of  the 
French  for  this  country  since  the  month  of  April,  1845,  he  has  natur- 
ally received,  at  the  request  of  his  Government,  his  exequatur  from 
the  President  of  the  Republic  of  Mexico.  With  regard  to  the  favor- 
able reception  given  to  him  by  Commodore  Stockton,  the  Under- 
signed made  it  his  duty,  as  it  was  his  pleasure,  to  announce  the  fact 
himself  to  his  Government. 

The  Undersigned  will  conclude  this  letter,  by  protesting  against 
the  official  measure  which  Col.  Fremont  has  adopted,  and,  as  he  can- 
not regard  it  as  otherwise  than  as  shewing  a  formal  intention  to  in- 
timidate him,  &  to  suspend  the  free  exercise  of  the  principal  and 
almost  the  only  attributes  of  his  office,  those  of  protecting  and  defend- 
ing the  interests  of  his  countrymen,  the  Undersigned  conceives  it  to 
be  his  duty  to  inform  Col.  Fremont,  that  he  will  take  the  first  oc- 
casion to  make  known  to  the  French  Government  the  manner  in 
which  his  complaints  and  his  official  acts  have  been  treated,  support- 


ing  his  statement  by  the  correspondence  and  other  documents  relat- 
ing thereto. 

The  Undersigned  prays  Colonel  Fremont  to  accept  the  assurance 
of  his  high  consideration. 


Consul  of  France 

Copy  of  a  translated  version  enclosed  in  R.  B.  Mason  to  R.  Jones,  28 
March  1849,  transmitting  procedures  of  board  of  officers  investigating  com- 
plaint by  the  French  minister  (DNA-94,  LR,  M-376  1849).  See  also  copy  in 
French  in  DNA-45,  Area  9  File,  Pacific. 

1.  JCF's  view  was  that  Panaud's  claim  was  "grossly  false"  (see  Fremont  to 
Marcy,  28  Sept.  1847,  Doc.  No.  223)  and  that  referring  it  "had  been  a  con- 
spiracy to  defraud."  If  Panaud  did  have  a  valid — though  greatly  exaggerated 
— claim,  as  Larkin  seemed  to  think,  he  renounced  it  on  10  Nov.  "voluntarily 
and  without  any  compulsion"  (see  enclosure  in  Fremont  to  Secretary  of  War, 
4  Oct.  1847,  Doc.  No.  225;  testimony  of  Larkin,  21  July  1848,  in  report  of 
board  of  officers,  enclosed  in  R.  B.  Mason  to  R.  Jones,  28  March  1849,  DNA- 
94,  LR,  M-376  1849).  Moerenhout,  however,  wrote  a  different  story  to  the 
French  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs:  "He  [Fremont]  called  M.  Panaud  before 
the  judge  and  several  officers,  and  after  having  greatly  intimidated  him,  espe- 
cially on  account  of  a  slight  error  in  the  [his]  account,  he  made  him  sign  a 
written  agreement  by  [which]  he  renounced  all  demands  for  indemnity.  On 
this  condition  they  gave  him  a  permit  to  take  himself  and  his  servants  to  San 
Jose  and  Santa  Cruz  to  transact  his  business,  and  a  receipt  for  the  horses 
that  they  had  taken  from  him."  Panaud,  who  had  only  yielded  on  account  of 
fear  in  signing  these  agreements,  believed  it  wise  not  to  go  himself  to  Santa 
Cruz  (Moerenhout  to  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs,  22  Nov.  1846,  nasatir, 

82.  Fremont  to  John  B.  Montgomery 

Monterey,  November  10th.  1846 

I  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  letters  of  the  29th  and  30th 
ultimo,  and  at  the  same  time  express  to  you  my  great  gratification 
and  thanks  for  your  assistance  which  I  assure  you  contrasts  remark- 
ably with  the  apparent  inactivity  of  our  officers  in  the  north.  None 
of  the  men  you  forwarded  to  the  Pueblo  have  yet  come  in  and  I  have 
reed,  no  communication  whatever  from  Mr.  [Lansford  W.]  Hastings 
or  Capt.  Weaver.^  I  experience  much  embarrassment  in  the  apparent 
irresponsibility  of  officers  who  make  no  reports  of  their  position  or 


proceedings.  In  the  meantime  the  rainy  season  is  setting  in  rapidly 
and  we  shall  certainly  suffer  by  our  delay. 

We  are  much  in  want  of  several  articles  which  I  am  informed  the 
Euphemia"  has  just  brought  to  San  Francisco  and  I  will  beg  of  you 
the  favor  to  purchase  for  me  by  the  enclosed  list.  On  it  I  have  placed 
some  articles  which  possibly  you  can  spare  me  from  the  stores  of  the 
Portsmouth.  I  will  arrange  with  Mr.  Larkin  to  pay  to  your  order  the 
amount  of  purchase  from  the  Euphemia. 

I  have  been  informed  that  you  are  about  to  cause  to  be  sold  the 
Julia  Ann,  a  prize  brought  in  by  the  Warren,^  and  one  of  my  princi- 
pal reasons  in  sending  to  you  this  courier  is  to  know  if  some  arrange- 
ment cannot  be  made  by  which  she  may  be  put  at  my  disposition. 
Such  a  vessel  would  be  of  great  importance  to  operate  in  communi- 
cation with  us  along  the  coast,  and  for  many  things  and  in  many 
cases  would  be  invaluable. 

I  make  this  enquiry  and  these  suggestions  with  some  reserve,  not 
knowing  how  far  my  proposition  may  be  consistent  with  other  ar- 
rangements, or  proprieties  of  service.  At  all  events  I  hope  you  may  be 
induced  to  delay  the  sale. 

An  apology  will  be  necessary  for  troubling  you  with  so  many 
requests,  but  I  hope  you  will  find  it  in  the  fact,  that  these  things  are 
really  of  great  importance  to  me,  and  I  cannot  elsewhere  apply  with 
the  confidence  that  they  will  be  attended  to  properly.  Out  of  various 
rumors,  the  most  reliable  intelligence  here  is  that  Com.  Stockton 
has  entered  the  Pueblo  without  opposition.  One  of  our  horseguards 
was  fired  upon  and  wounded  by  the  Californians  a  few  days  since— 
an  inexperienced  man  who  was  off  his  post. 

I  thank  you  for  your  congratulations  on  my  promotion.  To  me,  it 
was  the  more  agreeable  because  entirely  unexpected. 

I  hope  the  courier  will  arrive  in  time  to  enable  you  to  forward  the 
articles  I  have  asked  for  by  Mr.  Brennan  ;^  if  not  I  will  send  to  the 
Pueblo  of  San  Jose  for  them.  Would  it  not  be  advisable  to  put  an 
embargo  on  the  munitions  of  war  brought  by  the  Euphemia  and  on 
all  others?  Very  truly  &  Respectfully, 

J.  C.  Fremont, 
Lt.  Colonel  U.  S.  Army,  &  Commandant  of  California 

Captain  J.  B.  Montgomery 

Military  Commandant  Northern  Department  & 

Commanding  U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 


Two  Hufidred  thousand  percussion  caps — I  am  informed  that  the 
Euphemia  brings  three  or  four  hundred  thousand. 
0716  thousand  lbs.  American  lead. 
Any  holster  pistols  or  sabres 
One  Hundred  prs.  blankets. 

10  or  15  cases  of  canister  (if  of  lead)  and  small  Grape  shot. 
30  yds  stout  cotton  canvass. 

ALS,  RC  (DNA-45,  Area  9  File,  Pacific).  Endorsed. 

1.  JCF  undoubtedly  means  Capt.  Charles  M.  Weber  (1814-81),  successful 
San  lose  businessman  and  owner  of  Rancho  Campo  de  los  Franceses.  He  was 
engaged  in  the  work  of  collecting  horses  and  supplies  for  the  California 
Battalion.  Because  of  his  hostility  to  ICF,  he  declined  to  serve  in  the  battalion, 
but  was  made  captain  of  the  San  lose  Volunteers,  duvall,  72,  is  of  the  opin- 
ion that  Weber's  means  of  commandeering  mounts  and  equipment  were 
sometimes  obnoxious  and  unjustifiable.  For  an  excellent  sketch  of  Weber's 
life,  see  hammond  &  morgan. 

2.  The  Euphemia  was  a  Hawaiian  brig  of  150  tons  with  Thomas  Russum, 
an  EngUshman,  as  master  and  WilUam  Heath  Davis  as  supercargo  and  part 

3.  The  133-ton  schooner  ]ulia  Ann  may  have  been  brought  into  port  by 
the  Warren,  but  she  had  been  captured  off  La  Paz  in  Sept.  1846  by  the 
Cyane  (E.  L.  Stetson  to  Larkin,  28  Sept.  1846,  larkin,  5:253-54).  colton, 
125,  describes  her  as  "a  beautiful  vessel,"  riding  "the  water  like  a  duck"  and 
sailing  "with  the  speed  of  the  wind,"  her  masts  raking  "to  an  angle  that 
might  startle  a  Baltimore  clipper." 

4.  Probably  Samuel  Brannan  (1819-89),  Mormon  elder  who  had  arrived 
at  Verba  Buena  on  the  Brooklyn,  31  luly  1846,  with  a  colony  of  approximately 
240  Saints.  For  a  biography,  see  bailey. 

5.  At  the  bottom  of  the  enclosure  is  a  note  on  the  action  taken  with  regard 
to  ICF's  request:  "Forwarded  of  the  within  407  lbs.  of  lead  purchased  on 
shore,  a  quantity  of  loose  grape  shot  (268  lbs.)  (copper)  from  the  Port  and 
a  number  of  rifles  furnished  by  Mr.  Leidesdorff.  Sent  to  Santa  Clara  by  boat 
Novr.,  13th." 

83.  John  B.  Montgomery  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth 
San  Francisco,  Nov.  13th.  1846 

Your  letter  by  courier  of  the  10th  inst.  reached  me  yesterday  & 
after  the  most  diligent  search  &  enquiring  on  Shore  &  among  the 
Shipping  I  find  it  impossible  to  obtain  the  articles  named  in  your 


memorandum  as  needed  for  the  public  Service  except  407  lbs.  of 
lead  purchased  from  the  Euphemia.  None  of  the  articles  required 
(owing  to  the  extensive  requisitions  recently  made  upon  the  Ports- 
mouth) being  included  in  our  present  list  of  Stores  on  board.  Loose 
copper  Grape  shot  can  be  supplied  from  the  post  a  moderate  quan- 
tity of  which  I  have  directed  to  be  put  up  in  bags  or  barrels  to  be  for- 
warded to  the  Pueblo  of  San  Jose  in  one  of  my  boats  with  the  lead  & 
a  number  of  rifles  sent  by  Mr,  Leidesdorff  where  I  think  you  had 
best  send  for  them  if  you  can  as  I  am  not  apprised  of  there  being  any 
other  means  by  which  they  can  be  safely  forwarded  to  Monterey. 

I  regret  exceedingly  Sir  that  the  circumstances  attending  the  posi- 
tion of  the  prize  Schooner  Julia  at  present  filled  with  captured  mer- 
chandise leaves  me  no  power  to  comply  with  your  requisition  for  her 
service  in  the  manner  proposed  except  in  a  case  of  extreme  necessity. 
She  cannot  be  sold  until  after  condemnation  &  no  adjudication  in 
her  case  can  be  effected  until  ordered  by  the  Commander  in  Chief 
who  is  not  yet  apprised  of  her  capture. 

I  hope  that  all  the  volunteers  &  caballada  from  the  Pueblo  &  fort 
Sacramento  will  have  reached  Monterey  swelling  your  force  to  more 
than  five  hundred  before  you  receive  this. 

From  the  Pueblo  I  have  heard  they  were  to  move  yesterday 

I  am  now  about  to  transfer  the  charge  of  this  Department  to  Capt. 
Joseph  B.  Hull  of  the  Warren  &  shall  only  await  the  arrival  of  bread 
to  leave  this  port  for  more  active  tho'  perhaps  not  more  important  & 
stirring  service  than  has  fallen  to  our  lot  during  the  war.^ 

I  will  now  close  Sir  with  a  matter  of  intelligence  brought  by  the 
Warren  which  I  have  no  doubt  may  be  relied  upon,  viz.  That  Col. 
Kearny  who  entered  San  Fe  with  five  thousand  men  some  months 
since  has  despatched  from  there  one  thousand  mounted  riflemen  for 
service  in  Calia.  I  cherish  the  hope  that  you  may  fall  in  with  them 
before  you  return  from  the  south.  With  sentiments  of  respect  I  am 
your  Ob't.  Serv't. 

Jno.  B.  Montgomery 
Military  Comdt.  of  Calia.  & 
Comdr.  of  the  U.  S.  Portsmouth 
Lt.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 
Military  Commandant  of  California,  Monterey 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  no.  22,  Officers'  Letters.  Letterbooks  of  J.  R.  Montgomery). 
1.  Montgomery  and  the  Portsmouth  did  not  soil  for  San  Diego  until  5  Dec. 


The  further  delay  in  turning  over  the  command  and  governorship  of  the 
"Northern  District"  to  Hull  was  due  to  the  loss  of  a  launch  from  the  Warren 
with  Montgomery's  sons,  William  H.  and  John  E.,  aboard.  Bound  for  the 
Sacramento  on  13  Nov.,  the  launch  carried  a  crew  and  money  to  pay  the 
garrison  at  Sutter's  Fort.  Neither  boat  nor  crew  was  ever  heard  from  again, 
and  the  presumption  was  that  the  craft  was  upset  and  the  men  drowned. 
But  many  believed  that  the  crew  mutinied,  murdered  the  Montgomerys,  and 
made  ofT  with  the  payroll  (downey,  73-78;  Rogers  [2],  87-91). 

84.  William  Mervine  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Frigate  Savannah 
Bay  of  Monterey,  November  14th.  1846 

I  am  directed  by  Commodore  R.  F.  Stockton,  in  the  event  of  find- 
ing you  here,  to  offer  you  any  assistance  that  I  can  possibly  give,  to 
prepare  you  for  the  campaign ;  and  to  say  that,  "having  failed  after 
every  exertion  to  reach  Monterey  to  join  you  at  the  time  specified  in 
your  letter  of  the  27th  October,"  he,  "concluded  to  return  to  San 
Diego  as  the  most  certain  and  speediest  means  of  rejoining  you."^ 

I  have  an  Iron  4  Pounder — Ship  Gun — mounted  upon  a  good  pair 
of  cart  wheels ;  also  two  new  pairs  of  cart  wheels  and  axles  which  are 
at  your  service.  Respectfully  &c.  &c. 

William  Mervine 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Letterbooks  of  Oflflcers  at  Sea,  E-14  (A),  William  Mervine, 
vol.  1,  1846).  Capt.  William  Mervine  (1791-1868),  in  command  of  the 
Savannah,  was  still  smarting  from  a  defeat  by  the  Californians.  After  the 
Angelenos  revolted  and  drove  out  Archibald  Gillespie  and  his  forces,  Stockton 
ordered  Mervine  to  sail  south  and  give  the  Americans  aid.  Landing  at  San 
Pedro  on  7  Oct.,  Mervine  and  a  portion  of  his  crew  joined  Gillespie's  men  and 
advanced  on  Los  Angeles,  only  to  be  outmaneuvered  and  pounded  by  a  small 
cannon.  He  was  forced  to  retreat  to  his  ship  and  await  the  arrival  of  Stockton, 
and  all  of  southern  California  slipped  back  into  the  hands  of  the  local 
citizens.  Although  he  had  been  sent  north  to  give  whatever  aid  JCF  might 
need  in  preparing  for  his  march  to  Los  Angeles,  he  took  no  further  active 
part  in  the  war.  He  did  remain  in  the  Navy — an  enemy  of  Gillespie's — and 
retired  as  a  rear  admiral  in  1866  (marti,  87-91,  122-23;  ames  [1]). 

1.  Stockton  was  eventually  able  to  "buoy  the  bar"  and  get  the  Congress  into 
the  harbor  of  San  Diego.  He  was  there  when  Edward  Stokes  arrived  on  3 
Dec.  with  a  letter  from  Gen.  Stephen  Watts  Kearny  at  Warner's  rancho.  The 
letter  advised  him  of  the  general's  approach  and  expressed  the  wish  that 
Stockton  send  a  party  to  open  communications  with  him  (Kearny  to  Stockton, 
2  Dec.  1846,  ct.  martial,  186). 


85.   Fremont  to  William  Mervine 

Monterey,  November  14th.  1846 

I  have  the  honor  to  acknowledge  your  communications  of  yester- 
day and  this  morning,  in  which  you  desire  to  be  informed  if  the 
present  strength  of  the  garrison  is  adequate  to  the  protection  of 
the  place,  and  farther  offer  me  any  aid  in  your  power  from  the 

In  my  opinion  the  force  under  command  of  Capt.  Wm.  A.  Mad- 
dox  is  insufficient  to  the  successful  defence  of  the  fort  and  the  pro- 
tection of  the  town:  a  reinforcement  of  thirty  men  and  an  officer, 
would  enable  him  to  maintain  both,  and  render  the  presence  of  a 
Ship  of  War  unnecessary.^ 

I  am  informed  that  a  prize  Brig  called  the  Julia  Ann  has  been 
brought  by  the  Warren  to  San  Francisco,  and  farther  informed  that 
she  would  probably  be  sold  at  that  place.  Such  a  vessel  would  be  of 
great  importance  to  operate  in  communication  along  the  coast,  and 
would  otherwise  be  extremely  serviceable:  if  therefore,  no  other  dis- 
position of  her  has  been  already  made,  I  would  suggest  to  you  that 
she  be  fitted  out  in  such  capacity,  and  that  the  Commanding  Officer 
be  accordingly  directed  to  cooperate  with  and  report  to  me  for  duty. 

The  circumstances  of  the  country  will  render  it  advisable  to  de- 
tail a  force  from  the  Squadron  for  the  occupation  of  the  Pueblo  of 
San  Jose,  which  will  operate  effectually  to  check  the  inhabitants 
between  Monterey  and  San  Francisco:  Our  movement  to  the  South- 
ward will  necessarily  leave  the  interior  exposed. 

I  feel  pleasure  in  expressing  my  thanks  for  the  aid  you  have  af- 
forded me,  and  am  With  much  respect  &c.  &c.  &c. 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Col.  U.  S.  Army  &  Military  Commdt.  of  California 

Capt.  William  Mervine 
Comdg.  U.  S.  Frigate  Savannah 


I  am  unable  to  account  for  the  delay  which  the  men  sent  to  me  by 
Capt.  Montgomery  are  making  at  the  Pueblo  of  San  Jose.  I  would  be 
under  much  obligation  to  you,  if  you  would  send  to  Captain  Charles 
Webber  [Weber],  who  is  now  at  San  Jose,  a  positive  and  absolute  or- 


der  to  march  immediately,  with  all  the  Volunteers  who  may  have 
entered  the  service  of  the  United  States,  and  join  me  at  Monterey,  or 
wherever  else  I  may  designate. 

Those  men  who  have  not  procured  saddles  can  procure  them  on 
joining  me.  Ut.  Supra. 

J.  C.  Fremont 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Letterbooks  of  Officers  at  Sea,  E-14  (D),  Correspondence 
of  William  Mervine,  vol.  8,  1846). 

1.  The  next  day  Mervine  ordered  Midshipman  Alexander  B.  Abercrombie 
"with  a  detachment  of  thirty  Seaman  &  ordinary  Seamen"  from  the  Savannah 
to  report  to  Lieut.  William  A.  T.  Maddox  at  Monterey  (Mervine  to  Aber- 
crombie, 15  Nov.  1846,  DNA-45,  Letterbooks  of  Officers  at  Sea,  E-14  (A), 
William  Mervine,  vol.  1,  1846). 

86.  William  Mervine  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Frigate  Savannah 
Bay  of  Monterey,  Nov.  15th.  1846 

Agreeably  to  your  request,  I  send  you  William  Miller,^  1st  class 
Musician,  with  his  account"  enclosed  herewith.  He  is  desirous  of  be- 
ing permanently  transferred  to  your  command,  but  that  must  receive 
the  sanction  of  the  Commander  in  Chief.  Very  Respectfully  &c. 

&c.  &c. 

William  Mervine 
Lieut.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 
Military  Comdt.  of  California 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Letterbooks  of  Officers  at  Sea,  E-14  (A),  William  Mervine, 
vol.  1,  1846). 

1.  William  D.  Miller  became  a  bugler  for  JCF  (downey,  128-31). 

2.  Not  found. 


87.  Fremont  to  William  Mervine 

Monterey,  November  16th.  1846 

Dear  Sir, 

I  understand  that,  under  the  opinion  that  we  had  already  com- 
menced our  march  to  the  Southard,  some  persons  in  the  Sacramento 
are  engaged  in  forming  a  battalion  to  act  as  a  reserve.  Such  a  course 
will  naturally  weaken  our  forces,  be  of  no  manner  of  service  to  us, 
and  create  a  large  additional  expenditure,  for  which  we  shall  not  be 

The  Warren  has  not  brought  a  Dollar,  but  for  reasons  you  will 
immediately  perceive,  this  should  not  be  made  public  here. 

I  therefore,  suggest  that,  all  additional  enlistments  should  by  an 
express  order  from  yourself,  be  immediately  discontinued  through- 
out the  Territory, — making  an  exception  of  the  recruiting  officers 
appointed  by  me,  and  who  will  soon  be  in — and  that  all  men  now 
enlisted  immediately  report  to  me  at  St.  Johns,  it  being  intended  that 
the  different  Posts  should  be  garrisoned  by  troops  from  the  Squad- 
rons. It  cannot  be  expected  that  we  should  ration  the  families  of 
Emigrants  who  do  not  aid  me  in  the  field. 

I  respectfully  urge  upon  you  the  propriety  and  necessity  of  having 
it  clearly  understood  that  no  persons  will  be  received  or  paid  who  do 
not  engage  in  the  service  of  and  report  to  the  Military  Commandant 
of  the  Country. 

By  giving  me  your  aid  in  this  way  the  public  service  will  receive 
material  benefit. 

At  present  I  am  much  harrassed  by  numerous  appointments  of  ir- 
responsible men,  who  obey  nobody,  and  are  more  often  drunk  than 

I  find  that  Webber  [Weber]  desires  to  remain  at  the  Pueblo,  and 
with  your  permission  I  will  arrange  the  business  between  him  and 

I  am  glad  that  the  day  signals  recurred  to  you,  we  will  act  ac- 

I  am  indebted  to  you  for  the  painting  on  our  Flag — it  is  hand- 
some, and  if  you  will  permit  it,  I  should  like  to  compensate  the  artist. 
Very  Respectfully  &c.  &c.  &c. 

}.  C.  Fremont 
Lt.  Col.  U.  S.  Army 


Captain  Wm.  Mervine 

Senior  Officer  Northn.  California. 

U.  S.  Ship  Congress  [Savannah]  &c. 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Letterbooks  of  Officers  at  Sea,  E-14  (D),  Correspondence 
of  William  Mervine,  vol.  8,  1846). 

1.  Mervine  had  already  directed  John  B.  Montgomery  to  send  a  "positive 
order"  to  Captain  Weber  to  join  JCF  with  every  volunteer  in  Monterey,  and 
to  have  Lansford  W.  Hastings  remain  at  San  Jose  for  the  time  being  (Mervine 
to  Montgomery,  15  Nov.  1846,  DNA-45,  Area  9  File,  Pacific).  And  this 
Montgomery  did,  although  he  indicated  that  if  it  were  still  "impracticable" 
for  Weber  to  do  so,  he  might  remain  in  command  at  San  Jose  (Montgomery 
to  Charles  M.  Weber,  18  Nov.  1846,  CSmH).  Weber  remained  at  San  Jose; 
Hastings  went  south  to  join  JCF  at  Monterey. 

88.  William  Mervine  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Frigate  Savannah 
Bay  of  Monterey,  Nov.  16th.  1846 

Your  letter  of  this  date  is  received,  and  as  I  am  much  engaged  just 
now^  in  preparing  to  get  underw^eigh,  you  will  excuse  my  saying 
more  than,  that,  all  the  suggestions  contained  therein  shall  be  at- 
tended to. 

You  can  make  the  arrangements  you  speak  of  with  respect  to 

Your  Requisitions  have  be  [en]  complied  with,  with  the  exception 
of  substituting  "catridges"  for  "tube  Boxes."  Very  Respectfully  &c. 
&c.  &c. 

Wm.  Mervine 
Capt.  U.  S.  Navy 
Lieut.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 
U.  S.  A.  &  Military  Comdt.  of  California 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Letterbooks  of  Officers  at  Sea,  E-14  (A),  William  Mervine, 
vol.  1,  1846). 


89.  Fremont  to  Charles  M.  Weber 

Mission  of  San  Juan 
Nov  19th  1846 

As  we  are  exceedingly  in  want  of  horses  and  mules,  You  will 
please  deliver  to  Lieut  Wm.  Blackburn^  all  that  have  been  collected 
by  yourself  or  other  officers  under  your  command.  I  am  anxiously 
awaiting  the  arrival  of  those  men,  from  the  neighborhood  of  the 
Pueblo,  that  Capt.  Mervine  informed  me  would  be  ordered  to  join 
my  command.  I  am,  Very  Respectfully  Your  Obt.  Servt. 

(Signed)  J.  C.  Fremont 
Lt  Col  Comdg.  Calif.  Battalion  &  Mil.  Comdt.  California 

Capt.  Chas.  Weber 
Pueblo  San  Jose 

Copy  (CSmH).  JCF  had  come  from  Monterey,  where  he  had  been  or- 
ganizing, equipping,  and  provisioning  his  California  Battalion,  to  the  Mission 
San  Juan  Bautista.  Tom  Hill,  a  Delaware  Indian  scout,  and  Charley  Mcintosh, 
a  half-breed,  had  slipped  through  the  enemy  lines  to  bring  information  on  the 
plight  of  two  small  American  forces  which  had  met  a  large  group  of 
Californians  on  16  Nov.  The  encounter  became  known  as  the  battle  of 
Natividad,  as  it  was  fought  principally  on  the  Rancho  Natividad,  which  ad- 
joined the  Gomez  rancho  where  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  had  been  captured 
by  a  Castro  detachment  on  the  night  of  15-16  Nov.  JCF  gives  some  details 
of  the  battle  in  his  20  Nov.  letter  to  Kern  (Doc.  No.  90).  See  also  rogers 
fl],  29:336-41. 

1.  Second  Lieut.  William  Blackburn  (1814-67),  of  Company  A  artillery, 
was  a  Virginia  cabinetmaker  who  immigrated  to  California  in  1845.  Before 
joining  the  battalion,  he  served  in  the  Fauntleroy  dragoons.  When  peace 
came,  he  settled  in  Santa  Cruz  and  served  as  alcalde  and  later  as  county 
judge  before  turning  his  attention  to  agriculture  (pioneer  register). 

90.   Fremont  to  Edward  M.  Kern 

Mission  St.  John's,  Nov.  20.  1846 
My  dear  Sir, 

I  received  your  note  by  Mr.  Burrus  [Burrass],  taken  from  his  per- 
son after  he  was  killed.^  The  party  which  he  commanded  in  con- 


junction  with  one  of  25  under  Lieut.  Thompson^  encountered  a 
Californian  force  150  strong,  at  the  mouth  of  the  Gomez  Canada,  on 
the  Salinas  plain.  The  Californians  were  defeated,  losing  10-20 
killed  and  a  considerable  number  wounded.  They  carried  their 
wounded  and  some  of  their  dead.  Ten  of  the  latter  were  counted  on 
the  field.  We  have  lost  in  killed  four;  viz,  Capt.  Burruss,  Joseph  [E.] 

Foster,  Hiram  Ames  and Cooper;  two  severely  wounded  and 

others  slightly — all  now  doing  well.^  The  Californians  were  ran 
about  2  miles  and  night  stopped  the  fight.  Our  men  acted  nobly  but 
very  imprudently;  only  forty  of  them  were  in  the  fight  when  they 
charged.  We  have  lost  good  men."*  Tell  the  Wallawalah  chiefs  that 
his  men  fought  bravely  and  none  of  them  were  hurt.  Tom  Hill 
killed  three  Californians  and  received  two  slight  wounds.*'  I  wish 
you  [to  indicate  to  him]  (I  have  promised  this  to  the  Walawalahs) 
that  his  men  cannot  get  back  in  a  moon  &  a  half  [sketch  of  a  moon 
and  a  half-moon].  It  will  require  2  moons.  I  desire  you  to  supply  the 
families  of  those  Walawalahs  who  are  with  me,  with  beef  and  flour 
regularly;  and  to  give  regular  rations  to  Jeandrois'  [Gendreau's] 

I  regret  exceedingly  that  you  cannot  be  with  me,  and  sympathize 
with  your  bad  health,  but  hope  the  cool  weather  will  relieve  you.^  I 
shall  leave  this  in  a  few  days.  We  expect  close  skirmishing  and  one 
hard  fight.  At  this  time  we  are  over  300  men  and  shall  have  four 
pieces  of  artillery.  I  hope  yet  that  Capt.  Sutter  will  arrive  with  his 
Indians — if  they  do  not  join  us  here  they  can  be  of  no  service.^ 
Yours  truly, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Lieut  Kerne 
Commanding  Sacramento  District 

P.  S.  Talbot  and  his  party  are  with  us. 

ut  Supra. 
We  heard  cannon  last  evening  at  Monterey — I  left  that  place  3 
days  since — Captain  Maddox  is  in  command  there  with  125  men, 
and  6  pieces  artillery.  Merrit  recaptured  San  Diego  without  loss — 25 
men  against  80-120  Californians.'^ 

ut  Supra 

ALS,  RC  (CSmH). 

1.  Charles  D.  Burrass  was  bringing  twenty-two  men,  a  cannon,  and  a 
large  drove  of  horses  and   mules   from  the  Sacramento  district   to   augment 


JCF's  battalion  and  supplies  at  Monterey.  Nineteen-year-old  Edward  Kemble, 
a  participant  in  the  battle  of  Natividad,  in  an  article  appearing  in  the 
California  Star,  21  Aug.  1847  (reprinted  in  e.  c.  kemble,  59-64),  reported 
that  ten  Walla  Wallas  "under  the  command  of  one  Brennard"  and  two 
Delawares  were  attached  to  the  Sacramento  company.  Brennard  has  not  been 
identified,  and  it  is  possible  that  Kemble,  who  soon  became  editor  of  the 
Star,  made  an  error.  According  to  Sutter  (dillon,  254),  Franqois  Gendreau 
was  captain  of  the  Walla  Walla  detachment,  and  Gendreau's  name  appears  on 
the  roster  of  the  California  Battalion.  The  letter  above  implies  that  Gendreau 
was  in  command  of  the  Walla  Wallas. 

2.  Bluford  K.  Thompson,  who  was  actually  captain — not  lieutenant — of 
Company  G,  California  Battalion,  had  recruited  a  motley  party  of  rancheros, 
runaway  sailors,  Negroes,  Englishmen,  and  Germans  at  San  Jose  for  JCF's 
battalion.  A  gambler  by  profession,  Thompson  was  later  acquitted  of  a 
murder  charge  but  was  obliged  to  leave  California  in  1848.  He  was  himself 
killed  in  a  new  quarrel  on  the  Sweetwater. 

3.  Like  Burrass  and  Thompson,  Joseph  E.  Foster,  sometimes  called 
"Captain,"  and  St.  Louisan  Hiram  Ames  were  also  1846  immigrants  to 
California.  William  Thorne,  not  Cooper,  was  killed  at  Natividad,  although 
he  may  have  been  called  Billy  the  Cooper  (rogers  [1],  29:338;  Rogers  [3]). 
Wounded  were  James  Cash,  William  McGlone,  Henry  Marshall,  and  James 

4.  JCF's  battalion  sustained  its  greatest  losses  of  the  war  here  at  Natividad. 

5.  Piopiomoxmox  or  Yellow  Serpent  was  the  chief  of  a  band  of  forty  war- 
riors and  their  families  who  came  back  to  New  Helvetia  in  Sept.  1846  to 
hunt,  trade  for  cattle,  and  visit  the  grave  of  Elijah,  the  chief's  son,  slain 
more  than  a  year  before  by  an  American  residing  in  California.  Rumors  that 
the  warriors  numbered  250  and  were  coming  in  vengeance  brought  terror 
to  the  American  community,  and  many  preparations  were  made  to  meet  the 
invasion  (see  revere,  148-63;  heizer;  ames  &  hussev).  On  11  Aug.  1847 
Joseph  Libbey  Folsom,  chief  of  the  Quartermaster  Department  station  at  San 
Francisco,  reported  to  William  T.  Sherman  that  JCF,  on  his  way  out  of 
California  with  General  Kearny  in  June  1847,  had  given  the  Walla  Walla 
Indians  about  a  hundred  of  the  public  horses  in  payment  for  their  services 
in  the  war. 

6.  Tom  Hill  (ca.  1811-ca.  1860),  a  Delaware  scout,  had  been  one  of  Kit 
Carson's  men  in  1834.  In  1839  he  joined  a  band  of  Nez  Perce  Indians  living 
in  the  buffalo  country  of  Montana  and  in  1846  was  part  of  the  so-called 
Walla  Walla  invasion  of  California.  Following  his  adventure  as  a  scout  for 
Burrass,  he  became  a  scout  with  JCF's  forces  on  the  winter  march  through 
rain  and  mud  to  Los  Angeles  (haines). 

7.  In  a  letter  of  2  Nov.  1846  George  McKinstry,  Jr.,  wrote  Pierson  B. 
Reading  that  Edward  M.  Kern  was  in  bed  at  Fort  Sutter  "shaking  finely 
with  the  chills"  (morgan,  1:217). 

8.  Sutter  was  recruiting  Indians  on  the  Stanislaus  and  Mokelumne  rivers — 
"old  horse  thieves  who  had  reformed,"  as  he  termed  them  (dillon,  254).  He 
also  helped  enlist  a  company  of  native  California  Indians  to  serve  at  New 
Helvetia  and  thus  release  the  old  garrison  for  service  in  the  south. 

9.  San  Diego  had  been  recaptured  sometime  between  8  and  1 1  Oct.  by  a 
small  force  variously  reported  as  twenty-five  or  forty  men,  including  John 
Bidwell  and  sailors  from  the  whaler  Stonington.  The  assault  was  commanded 
by  Ezekiel  Merritt.  On  appeal  by  Merritt  for  reinforcements,  Mervine  at  San 


Pedro  chartered  the  whaler  Magnolia  out  of  New  Bedford  and  sent  it  with 
Lieut.  George  Minor,  two  midshipmen,  thirty-five  sailors,  and  fifteen  volun- 
teers dashing  to  the  rescue.  This  group  landed  near  the  mouth  of  the  San 
Diego  River  and  built  fortifications,  but  for  some  time  San  Diego  was  a 
no-man's-land.  The  Americans  were  unable  to  dislodge  the  Mexicans  from 
the  hilltops  or  to  procure  cattle  and  horses.  For  an  account  of  the  siege  of 
San  Diego,  see  pourade,  3:87-94.  Ezekiel  Merritt  had  commanded  the 
party  that  seized  Arce's  horses  in  June  and  organized  the  Bear  Flaggers' 
descent  on  Sonoma. 

91.  William  Mervine  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Frigate  Savannah 
Bay  of  San  Francisco,  Nov.  21st.  1846 

The  state  of  the  country  on  my  arrival  here  was  represented  to  be 
such  as  to  render  the  landing  of  the  Brass  Gun  at  the  Embarcadero 
of  Santa  Clara  extremely  hazardous,  without  a  sufficient  force  to  es- 
cort it  down  to  you,  which  could  not  be  spared.^  I  have,  therefore, 
sent  it  down  in  the  "Julia",  and  hope  it  will  arrive  in  time;  if  not,  it 
will  remain  on  board  the  Schooner,  and  follow  you  down  the  coast. 

Manuel  Castro  is  at  the  head  of  a  party  of  about  sixty  men,  mau- 
rading  about  the  country.  Some  of  his  gang  made  prisoner  of  T.  O. 
Larkin,  during  the  night  of  the  day  after  his  leaving  Monterey.^ 
Very  Respectfully  &c.  &c.  &c. 

William  Mervine 
Lieut.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 
Military  Commdt.  of  Calia. 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Letterbooks  of  Officers  at  Sea,  E-14  (A),  William  Mervine, 
vol.  1,  1846). 

1.  Mervine  had  requested  that  the  brass  gun  which  Capt.  Joseph  B.  Hull 
had  taken  out  of  the  prize  brig  Malef{  Adhel  be  sent  to  the  embarcadero  at 
Santa  Clara  (Mervine  to  John  B.  Montgomery,  1  Nov.  1846,  DNA-45,  Area 
9  File,  Pacific). 

2.  Larkin  had  left  Monterey  on  15  Nov.  for  San  Francisco  to  be  with  his 
wife  and  children  after  learning  that  his  youngest  daughter,  Adeline,  was 
seriously  ill.  He  stopped  for  the  night  at  the  rancho  of  Jose  Joaquin  Gomez, 
and  about  midnight  was  captured  and  escorted  on  horseback  to  Manuel 
Castro's  camp  on  the  Salinas  River.  Held  as  a  hostage  for  several  weeks,  he 
was  taken  to  Santa  Barbara  and  then  to  Los  Angeles  as  the  Californians 
retreated  (larkin,  5:xiv-xv). 


92.  Fremont  to  William  Mervine 

St.  Johns  Mission 
Nov.  27th.  1846 

I  have  directed  all  officers,  civil  and  military,  who  come  properly 
within  my  jurisdiction,  to  abstain  from  any  farther  offensive  pro- 
ceedings against  the  Californians,  residing  and  being  in  the  North- 
ern Department;  and  that  they  permit  them  to  pursue  their  usual 
lawful  business  without  molestation. 

Believing  this  to  be  the  best  as  well  as  most  humane  course,  and 
satisfied  of  the  present  peaceable  disposition  of  the  greater  part  of 
the  inhabitants  here,  I  have  to  request  that  you  will  sustain  it  by 
your  influence  and  authority. 

I  have  given  to  numbers  of  residents  in  this  vicinity  general  pass- 
ports and  safeguards,  any  violation  of  which  will  be  punished  ac- 
cording to  the  usages  of  war  by  a  summary  Court  Martial. 

Some  of  the  proceedings  instituted  by  Captain  Charles  Weber 
against  the  people  here  are  very  little  honorable  to  the  United  States, 
and  I  have  publicly  and  fully  disclaimed  them  as  disgraceful.  I  feel 
certainly  assured  that  nothing  of  this  nature  will  be  countenanced  by 
yourself  and  therefore  call  your  attention  to  them. 

I  am  in  hopes  that  Captain  Weber  will  not  now  have  any  farther 
power  to  destroy  the  people  and  force  out  against  us  those  who 
otherwise  would  have  been  willing  to  remain  quiet.^ 

I  beg  to  insist  strongly  upon  this  subject  with  you,  as  I  believe  that 
any  farther  hostile  measures  in  the  Northern  Department  are  totally 
unnecessary.  They  will  cause  unnecessary  expense  and  bloodshed. 
No  persons  are  in  arms  beyond  a  few  straggling  robbers  whom  a 
small  force  is  sufficient  to  check  and  chastise. 

I  should  feel  it  unnecessary  to  make  these  representations  to  you 
were  the  commission  of  Military  Commandant  of  California  re- 
ceived by  me  from  Commodore  Stockton,  of  any  authority  among 
his  Officers:  but  under  the  actual  circumstances  I  should  feel  myself 
humiliated  by  attaching  it  to  my  name. 

I  have  only  therefore  to  beg  of  you  that  you  will  do  me  the  favor 
to  sustain  the  conciliatory  measures  which  I  have  judged  it  advisable 
to  adopt  here,  and  that  you  will  cause  my  passports  and  safeguards  to 
be  respected  by  the  officers  of  this  department.  Any  violation  of 


them  will  certainly  be  punished  to  the  full  extent  of  the  ability  that 
law  and  circumstances  may  leave  in  my  power. 

We  are  just  about  raising  camp  and  I  hope  in  a  few  weeks  to  be 
able  to  send  some  satisfactory  news.^  ^^gg^^ig  you  to  receive  the  as- 
surances of  personal  regard  I  am,  Very  Respectfully  your  Obdt.  Servt., 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Lt.  Col.  U.  S.  Army  Commdg.  California  Battalion  U.  S.  Troops 

Captain  Wm.  Mervine 

Senior  Captain  in  North  California. 

Commanding  U.  S.  Frigate  Savannah,  San  Francisco 

LS  (DNA-45,  LR  by  Secretary  of  the  Navy  from  Commanding  Officers 
of  Squadrons,  Pacific  Squadron,  Commodore  Stockton,  1846-47).  Endorsed. 
The  body  of  the  letter  was  written  by  Talbot,  who,  suffering  "starvation, 
cold,  nakedness  and  every  sort  of  privation"  after  being  driven  from  Santa 
Barbara  by  the  Californians  under  the  command  of  Manuel  Garfias,  had 
managed  to  rejoin  JCF  at  Monterey  a  day  or  two  before  the  battle  of 
Natividad  (Talbot  to  Adelaide  Talbot,  15  Jan.  1847,  DLC— Talbot  Papers). 

1.  Weber's  methods  of  requisitioning  horses  and  equipment  for  JCF  met 
resistance,  and  Henry  Melius  and  W.  D.  M.  Howard  in  particular  protested 
the  crippling  of  their  business  (John  B.  Montgomery  to  Charles  M.  Weber,  2 
Nov.  1846,  CSmH).  The  commandant  of  the  Northern  District  actually  ap- 
pointed a  commission  to  investigate  complaints  against  Weber,  but  the  order 
was  later  annulled,  and  the  alcalde  of  San  Jose  was  directed  to  take  the 
affidavits  of  the  aggrieved. 

2.  Shortly  after  sending  off  this  letter,  JCF  and  his  motley  battalion 
started  from  San  Juan  on  their  march  to  Los  Angeles  to  cooperate  with  Stockton 
against  the  army  of  Jose  Maria  Flores,  commanding  insurgent  forces  in  the 
south.  Flores's  design  was  to  confine  American  naval  officers  to  the  seaports 
by  the  practical  technique  of  driving  all  stock  into  the  interior,  making  it  im- 
possible for  the  American  Navy  to  mount  and  provision  a  land  force. 
"Against  the  naval  force  only,"  JCF  wrote,  "his  plan  would  have  been  easily 
successful,  but  it  became  impossible  when  in  addition  he  had  against  him 
the  active  force  of  my  command,  which  cut  his  plan  at  the  root  and  turned  it 
against  himself.  I  had  at  my  back  the  constantly  increasing  emigrant  force, 
and  the  mountains,  which  I  knew  better  than  himself"  (memoirs,  593). 

93.  Excerpt  from  the  Memoirs 

[28  Nov.  1846-13  Jan.  1847] 

Working  and  waiting  for  the  reinforcements  from  the  valley,  the 
weeks  passed  on  until  the  end  of  November,  when  we  moved  from 
San  Juan,  and,  halting  a  few  days  for  our  supply  of  beef  catde,  took 


up  the  line  of  march  for  Los  Angeles.  Our  route  lay  up  the  San 
Benito  River,  and  thence  over  the  hills  into  the  Salinas  valley/  The 
march  was  made  under  difficult  circumstances.  Winter  weather  and 
cold  rain-storms  for  days  together;  the  roads  and  trails  muddy;  the 
animals  weak  for  want  of  food ;  the  strength  of  the  old  grass  washed 
out  by  the  rains,  and  the  watery  new  grass  without  sustenance.  Many 
of  the  horses,  too  weak  for  use,  fell  out  by  the  way  and  were  left 
behind,  and  part  of  the  battalion  was  soon  on  foot. 

Attached  to  the  battalion  was  a  company  of  Indians;  some  Walla- 
wallahs  and  a  few  Delawares  from  the  Columbia  River,  the  rest 
Indians  from  the  Sacramento.  These  were  to  act  as  scouts  under  the 
command  of  Captain  Richard  Jacob,*  of  Louisville,  Kentucky.  Regu- 
larly during  the  march  a  part  of  this  company  encamped,  without 
fires,  one  to  three  miles  in  advance  of  the  battalion;  the  other  part 
about  the  same  distance  in  the  rear;  so  that  no  traveller  on  the  road 
escaped  falling  into  our  hands. 

The  battalion  numbered  about  four  hundred  and  thirty  men." 
Their  only  provision  was  the  beef  which  was  driven  along,^  but  this 
was  good,  and  the  men  were  in  fine  health.  Cold  weather  and  the 
exposed  marches  gave  wholesome  appetites.  Perfect  order  was  main- 
tained on  the  march  and  in  the  camp,  and  private  property  was  re- 
spected absolutely.  No  man  left  the  camp  without  a  pass,  and  the 
column  passed  over  the  country  without  giving  reasonable  cause  for 
complaint  to  any  Californian."* 

In  such  a  march,  it  may  be  supposed,  there  was  no  superfluity  of 
baggage,  and  the  men  rode  or  walked  in  the  rain  and  slept  wet  at 
night,  but  there  was  surprisingly  little  complaint  and  no  disorder. 
As  always,  there  were  in  the  command  some  men  who  were  useless 
and  some  who  were  worse,  but  these  were  kept  under  watchful  eyes, 
and  gave  little  trouble.  In  the  forepart  of  the  day  of  the  14th  Decem- 
ber I  encamped  on  the  mountain  near  San  Luis  Obispo.  In  the  after- 
noon I  went  with  William  Knight  to  a  point  on  the  hills  which 
overlooked  the  mission,  and  watched  for  awhile,  but  in  the  distance 
we  could  discover  nothing  to  indicate  whether  or  not  there  was  a 
force  at  the  place.  The  night  was  rainy.  Saddling  up  after  nightfall, 
about  nine  o'clock  we  surrounded  the  mission  buildings  and  cap- 
tured the  few  people  found  there.  Some  took  to  the  roofs  of  the  mis- 

*  Afterwards  Lieutenant-Ciovernor  of  Kentucky  and  son-in-law  of  Senator 


sion,  but  none  got  away.  To  avoid  turning  the  people  out  of  their 
houses  in  the  stormy  weather,  I  quartered  the  battalion  in  the  mis- 
sion church,  putting  a  regular  guard  over  the  altar  and  church  prop- 
erty. We  found  in  the  town  some  frijoles  and  other  vegetables,  and 
crushed  wheat,  which  were  bought  and  distributed  among  the  men 
by  way  of  luxuries. 

Upon  information,  I  sent  men  around  the  neighborhood,  and  in 
all  some  thirty  men  fell  into  our  hands,  among  them  an  officer  who 
had  been  wounded  at  the  Encinal,  and  Don  [Jose  de]  Jesus  Pico,^ 
who  was  at  the  head  of  the  insurrection  in  that  quarter.  Don  Jesus 
had  broken  his  parole,  and  was  put  before  a  court-martial  and  sen- 
tenced to  be  shot. 

Among  the  papers  seized  here  was  an  original  despatch  from  Gen- 
eral Flores,  by  which  we  learned  of  the  action  at  San  Pasqual,  but  it 
made  no  mention  of  the  officer  commanding  on  the  American  side. 

The  hour  for  the  execution  of  Don  Jesus  Pico  had  arrived  and  the 
battalion  was  drawn  up  in  the  plaza  in  front  of  my  windows.  The 
rough  travelling  had  put  the  men  in  bad  humor  and  they  wanted  to 
vent  it  upon  something.  They  looked  upon  Pico  as  in  part  cause  of 
their  hardships  and  wanted  to  see  him  die.  Don  Jesus  was  about  to 
be  led  out.  The  door  of  my  room  was  abruptly  opened  by  Captain 
Owens,  who  showed  in  a  lady  in  black,  followed  by  a  group  of  chil- 
dren. They  were  the  wife  and  children  of  Pico.  She  had  prevailed 
upon  Owens,  who  was  kind  as  well  as  brave,  to  bring  her  to  me.  On 
entering  the  lady  threw  herself  on  her  knees,  she  imploring  the  life 
of  her  husband,  the  children  crying  and  frightened.  "He  did  not 
know,"  she  said,  "that  he  was  committing  such  a  crime.  He  went 
with  the  hijos  del  pais  to  defend  the  country  because  he  was  ashamed 
to  stay  behind  when  the  others  went  to  fight.  He  did  not  know  it 
was  so  wrong."  I  raised  her  from  her  knees  and  told  her  to  go  home 
and  remain  quiet,  and  I  would  presently  let  her  know.*^ 

I  sent  Owens  to  bring  me  Don  Jesus.  He  came  in  with  the  gray 
face  of  a  man  expecting  death,  but  calm  and  brave,  while  feeling  it  is 
near.  He  was  a  handsome  man,  within  a  few  years  of  forty,  with 
black  eyes  and  black  hair.  I  pointed  through  the  window  to  the 
troops  paraded  in  the  square.  He  knew  why  they  were  there.  "You 
were  about  to  die,"  I  said,  "but  your  wife  has  saved  you.  Go  thank 

He  fell  on  his  knees,  made  on  his  fingers  the  sign  of  the  cross,  and 
said:  "I  was  to  die— I  had  lost  the  life  God  gave  me— you  have  given 


me  another  life.  I  devote  the  new  life  to  you."  And  he  did  it, 

Don  Jesus  was  a  cousin  of  Don  Andres  Pico  who  commanded  at 
San  Pasqual,  and  who  was  married  to  a  lady  of  the  Carrillo  family. 
When  the  march  was  resumed  he  accompanied  me  and  remained 
with  me  until  I  left  California,  always  an  agreeable  companion  and 
often  rendering  me  valuable  service — perhaps  sometimes  quite  un- 
known to  myself.^ 

Contracting  space  requires  me  here  to  pass  lightly  over  incidents 
of  the  march,  beyond  the  Mission.^  On  Christmas  eve  we  encamped 
on  the  ridge  of  Santa  Ines  [Ynez]  behind  Santa  Barbara.^  The 
morning  of  Christmas  broke  in  the  darkness  of  a  southeasterly  storm 
with  torrents  of  cold  rain,  which  swept  the  rocky  face  of  the  precipi- 
tous mountain  down  which  we  descended  to  the  plain.  All  traces  of 
trails  were  washed  away  by  the  deluge  of  water,  and  pack-animals 
slid  over  the  rocks  and  fell  down  the  precipices,  blinded  by  the 
driving  rain.  In  the  descent  over  a  hundred  horses  were  lost.  At 
night  we  halted  in  the  timber  at  the  foot  of  the  mountain,  the  artil- 
lery and  baggage  strewed  along  our  track,  as  on  the  trail  of  a  de- 
feated army.  The  stormy  day  was  followed  by  a  bright  morning, 
with  a  welcome  sun,  and  gathering  ourselves  into  an  appearance  of 
order  we  made  our  way  into  the  town.  There  was  nothing  to  oppose 
us,  and  nothing  to  indicate  hostility;  the  Californian  troops  having 
been  drawn  together  in  a  main  body  near  Los  Angeles.  I  remained 
here  some  days  to  refresh  the  battalion  and  repair  damages.  The  gun 
crews  wanted  sights  to  their  guns,  and  to  please  them  I  had  the  guns 
tried  and  sighted.^" 

Pending  this  delay  Don  Jesus  brought  me  word  that  a  lady  wished 
to  confer  with  me.  He  informed  me  that  she  was  a  woman  of  some 
age,  highly  respected  and  having  a  strong  connection,  over  which 
she  had  the  influence  sometimes  accorded  to  women  of  high  char- 
acter and  strong  individuality. 


*  I  had  retained  only  the  Christian  name  of  this  lady,  but  in   reply  to  a 
letter  I  have  received  the  following  telegram: 

San  Luis  Obispo,  California,  November  10,  1886. 

To  General  J.  C.  Fremont,  1310  Nineteenth  Street,  Washington,  D.  C. 

Received  your  letter.  The  lady  who  urged  you   for  peace  with  the  Cali- 
fornians  at  Santa  Barbara  is  Bernarda  Ruiz.  She  died  eight  years  ago. 

J.  DE  Jesus  Pico 

In  the  interview  I  found  that  her  object  was  to  use  her  influence 
to  put  an  end  to  the  war,  and  to  do  so  upon  such  just  and  friendly 
terms  of  compromise  as  would  make  the  peace  acceptable  and  en- 
during. And  she  wished  me  to  take  into  my  mind  this  plan  of 
settlement,  to  which  she  would  influence  her  people;  meantime,  she 
urged  me,  to  hold  my  hand,  so  far  as  possible.  Naturally,  her  char- 
acter and  sound  reasoning  had  its  influence  with  me,  and  I  had  no 
reserves  when  I  assured  her  that  I  would  bear  her  wishes  in  mind 
to  act  when  the  occasion  came,  and  that  she  might  with  all  con- 
fidence speak  on  this  basis  with  her  friends.  Here  began  the  Capitu- 
lation of  Couenga  [Cahuenga]. 

With  damage  from  hard  marching  and  stormy  weather  repaired, 
and  the  men  restored  by  their  rest  in  comfortable  quarters  to  good 
condition  and  good  humor,  the  march  was  resumed  on  the  17th 
[3  Jan.].  On  our  way  across  the  plain  below  Santa  Barbara  a  corps 
of  observation  of  the  enemy's  cavalry,  some  fifty  to  one  hundred 
men,  hovered  about  us,  without  doing  or  receiving  any  harm.  It  did 
not  come  within  my  policy  to  have  any  of  them  killed,  and  a  few 
shots  from  our  guns  that  went  uncomfortably  near  dispersed  them. 

There  is  a  maritime  defile  called  the  Rincoii,  about  fifteen  miles 
south  of  Santa  Barbara  and  fifteen  miles  long.  A  mountain  ridge 
here  skirts  the  sea,  leaving  a  narrow  beach  floored  with  a  hard,  parti- 
colored bitumen.  The  defile  was  passed  without  opposition.  Here- 
along  we  were  flanked  by  a  gunboat,  under  the  command  of  Lieu- 
tenant Selden,  of  the  navy,  which  Commodore  Stockton  had  sent,  to 
be  of  aid  to  me  in  some  possible  emergency.^^  He  was  watchful  over 
the  whole  situation  and  prompt  to  aid  wherever  he  saw  an  opening. 
On  the  morning  of  the  9th  Captain  [George  W.]  Hamlyn  [Ham- 
ley],  master  of  the  Stonmgtofj,  which  had  so  useful  a  part  at  San 
Diego,  came  into  my  camp  at  "The  Willows,"  below  the  Rincon.^" 

Captain  Hamlyn  was  the  bearer  of  a  despatch  to  me  from  Com- 
modore Stockton,  whom  he  had  left  at  San  Luis  Rey,  and  passing 
through  San  Diego  had  embarked  on  the  brig  MaleJ{  Adhel  and 
landed  at  San  Buenaventura,  which  is  at  the  southern  entrance  of 
the  Rincon  Pass.  He  was  accompanied  by  my  friend  Don  Pedro 
Car[r]illo,  by  whose  aid  he  had  found  an  Indian  who  guided  them 
past  the  camp  of  the  horsemen  who  had  been  observing  us,  and 
brought  them  to  me  at  "The  Willows." 

This  is  the  letter  which  he  brought  me  from  the  commodore: 


[Not  reprinted  here,  but  included  as  Stockton  to  Fremont,  3  Jan. 
1847,  Doc.  No.  101.] 

We  entered  the  Pass  of  San  Bernardo  [San  Fernando]  on  the 
evening  of  the  12th/^  expecting  to  find  the  enemy  there  in  force,  but 
the  Cahfornians  had  fallen  back  before  our  advance  and  the  Pass 
w^as  undisputed.  In  the  afternoon  we  encamped  at  the  mission  of  San 
Fernando/"*  the  residence  of  Don  Andres  Pico,  w^ho  was  at  present 
in  chief  command  of  the  Californian  troops.  Their  encampment  was 
within  two  miles  of  the  mission,  and  in  the  evening,  Don  Jesus,  with 
a  message  from  me,  made  a  visit  to  Don  Andres.  The  next  morning, 
accompanied  only  by  Don  Jesus,  I  rode  over  to  the  camp  of  the  Cali- 
fornians,  and,  in  a  conference  with  Don  Andres,  the  important 
features  of  a  treaty  of  capitulation  were  agreed  upon. 

A  truce  was  ordered;^"  commissioners  on  each  side  appointed;  and 
the  same  day  a  capitulation  agreed  upon.  This  was  approved  by  my- 
self as  Military  Commandant  representing  the  United  States,  and 
Don  Andres  Pico,  Commander-in-Chief  of  the  Californians.  With 
this  treaty  of  Counega  [Cahuenga]^*'  hostilities  ended,  and  California 
left  peaceably  in  our  possession;  to  be  finally  secured  to  us  by  the 
treaty  of  Guadalupe  Hidalgo  in  1848. 

MEMOIRS,  597-601.  Talbot  wrote  his  mother  that  the  battalion  left  San 
Juan  on  26  Nov.,  but  in  view  of  the  fact  that  he  dated  a  letter  for  JCF  to 
William  Mervine  (Doc.  No.  92)  from  San  Juan  on  27  Nov.,  the  date  of  30 
Nov.  as  given  by  McLane  is  more  likely  the  accurate  one  (Talbot  to  Adelaide 
Talbot,  15  Jan.  1847,  DLC — Talbot  Papers;  mc  lane,  91).  Lieut.  Edwin 
Bryant  in  Company  H  of  the  battalion  implies  that  the  start  was  made  on  28 
Nov.  (bryant,  365-68).  Bryant  (1805-69),  former  editor  of  the  Lexington, 
Ky.,  Reporter,  was  chiefly  responsible  for  raising  Company  H  from  the  newly 
arrived  emigrants  to  California,  of  which  he  was  one,  but  the  command  was 
given  to  Richard  T.  Jacob,  a  JCF  favorite  (Sacramento  Daily  Union,  9  Dec. 
1871;  E.  c.  KEMBLE,  90-97).  Bryant's  What  1  Saw  in  California,  published 
shortly  after  the  author's  return  east  with  General  Kearny,  went  through 
several  editions  and,  along  with  McLane's  journal,  is  useful  in  supplementing 
JCF's  much  later  account  of  his  march  from  San  Juan  Bautista  to  Cahuenga. 
In  the  struggle  between  Kearny  and  JCF  in  California,  Bryant  sided  with 
Kearny  and  was  appointed  by  him  to  serve  as  alcalde  of  San  Francisco. 

1.  GiFFEN  [1]  has  a  fine  secondary  account,  accompanied  by  a  map,  of  the 
battalion's  march  from  San  Juan  Bautista  to  Los  Angeles.  She  notes  the  dis- 
tance covered  and  the  campsite  for  each  day.  outland  differs  on  a  few  of  the 
bivouacs,  particularly  after  the  battalion  left  Mission  San  Buenaventura  on  6 
Jan.  1847. 

2.  In  addition  to  the  Indians,  the  battalion  was  made  up  of  many  members 
of  JCF's  exploring  party,  volunteers  from  the  American  settlements,  and 
newly  arrived  emigrants.  For  the  most  part,  they  furnished  their  own  am- 
munition   and    equipment    and    were    capable    of    bearing    the    fatigue    and 

privations  endured  by  veteran  troops.  Attached  to  the  battalion  were  three 
pieces  of  artillery  and  an  ammunition  wagon  under  the  command  of  Lieut. 
Louis  McLane  of  the  Navy  (mc  lane,  91).  "In  the  appearance  of  our  small 
army,"  Bryant  wrote,  "there  is  presented  but  little  of  'the  pomp  and  circum- 
stance of  glorious  war.'  There  are  no  plumes  nodding  over  brazen  helmets, 
nor  coats  of  broadcloth  spangled  with  lace  and  buttons.  A  broad-brimmed, 
low-crowned  hat,  a  shirt  of  blue  flannel,  or  buckskin,  with  pantaloons  and 
moccasins  of  the  same,  all  generally  the  worse  for  wear,  and  smeared  with 
mud  and  dust,  make  up  the  costume  of  the  party,  officers  as  well  as  men.  A 
leathern  girdle  surrounds  the  waist,  from  which  are  suspended  a  bowie  and  a 
hunter's  knife,  and  sometimes  a  brace  of  pistols.  These,  with  rifle  and 
holster-pistols,  are  the  arms  carried  by  officers  and  privates.  A  single  bugle 
(and  a  sorry  one  it  is)  composes  the  band"  (bryant,  366). 

3.  In  addition  to  the  1,900  horses  and  mules  on  the  quartermaster's  roll,  the 
battalion  was  driving  300  head  of  cattle  (mc  lane,  91).  Ordinarily  thirteen 
beeves  were  slaughtered  each  day,  and  in  the  early  stages  of  the  march, 
replacements  were  secured  from  missions  and  ranchos  along  the  way.  This 
was  also  true  for  horses  that  gave  out.  At  the  Mission  San  Miguel  on  10 
Dec.  the  battalion  feasted  on  mutton,  frijoles,  and  tortillas,  and  wheat  be- 
came more  readily  available  as  they  proceeded  south  (bryant,  372,  383,  390). 

4.  BRYANT,  374,  also  observed  that  "the  deportment  of  the  battalion  might 
be  cited  as  a  model  for  imitation."  But  there  were  others  who  did  not  share  his 
opinion.  A  resident  of  Santa  Barbara,  William  A.  Streeter,  remembered  JCF 
saying  that  he  had  destroyed  all  the  property  he  could  find  of  those  who  were 
out  in  arms  against  him,  and  reported  that  the  battalion  commander's  original 
intention  had  been  to  enter  Santa  Barbara  "with  fire  and  sword"  (streeter, 
164).  While  the  battalion  was  in  the  vicinity  of  Mission  San  Miguel,  a  scout- 
ing party  burned  the  ranch  house  of  Mariano  Soberanes  and  took  him  and  his 
sons  prisoner  (mc  lane,  112;  giffen  [1],  221). 

5.  As  captain  of  defense  and  justice  of  the  peace  at  San  Luis  Obispo,  Jose 
de  Jesus  Pico  (b.  1807)  had  been  paroled  earlier,  but  he  had  broken  that 
parole,  participated  in  the  battle  of  Natividad,  and  supported  Jose  Maria 
Flores  in  the  general  uprising  in  the  south. 

6.  DOWNEY,  126,  wrote,  "We  all  knew  the  Colonel  was  a  little  tender  on 
sex,  and  along  before  the  conference  was  ended  it  was  the  generally  received 
opinion  in  camp  that  there  would  be  no  hanging  done."  Javaela  Villavicencio's 
pleading  had  saved  her  husband,  but  an  Indian  who  had  been  spying  on  the 
battalion  on  the  orders  of  Pico  had  been  summarily  executed  on  13  Dec.  in 
full  view  of  Indians  from  a  neighboring  rancheria  (bryant,  373).  cutts,  161, 
contains  what  is  reputedly  Talbot's  description  of  Pico's  pardon,  probably 
written  by  JBF. 

7.  Pico,  owner  of  Piedra  Blanca,  which  later  became  a  part  of  George 
Hearst's  estate  of  San  Simeon,  not  only  aided  JCF  in  bringing  about  the 
Treaty  of  Cahuenga  but  also  accompanied  him  on  his  famous  ride  from  Los 
Angeles  to  Monterey  in  March  1847  when  the  worried  governor  sought  an 
interview  with  Kearny  (see  Doc.  No.  166,  n.  1).  Later  he  would  serve  for  a 
time  as  assessor  of  San  Luis  Obispo  County  and  in  1852-53  as  a  member  of 
the  state  legislature. 

8.  After  the  Mission  San  Luis  Obispo  camps  were  made  near  Rancho 
Nipomo,  owned  by  William  Goodwin  Dana,  a  native  of  Massachusetts  who 
had  become  quite  influential  in  California,  and  at  Rancho  Tinaquaic,  owned 
by  Benjamin  Foxen,  a  former  English  sailor  who  over  the  years  was  to  build 


a  large  California  estate  in  spite  of  spending  four  years  in  jail  for  killing 
Agustin  Davila  in  1848  (bryant,  377-78;  pioneer  register). 

9.  Guided  by  Foxen,  the  battalion  crossed  the  Santa  Ynez  ridge  by  way 
of  San  Marcos  Pass.  The  artillery  had  to  be  unlimbered  and  carried  by  the 
men  over  the  pass  and  down  the  precipitous  mountain.  During  the  descent 
"the  wind  blew  almost  with  the  force  of  a  tornado"  (bryant,  380).  JCF  has 
been  unjustly  accused  of  poor  judgment  in  taking  the  San  Marcos  Pass 
instead  of  the  road  through  Gaviota.  The  latter  pass  is  a  narrow  one,  and 
rumors  were  afloat  that  the  Californians  intended  to  make  a  stand  there. 
Furthermore,  to  take  the  route  through  Gaviota  would  have  limited  his 
mobility — he  would  have  had  the  ocean  on  one  side  and  the  steeply  rising 
hills  on  the  other. 

10.  For  an  account  of  the  reoccupation  of  the  almost  deserted  town  of 
Santa  Barbara,  see  ellison,  256-69. 

11.  Lieut.  Edward  A.  Selden,  who  had  been  a  midshipman  on  board  the 
U.S.S.  Columbus,  commanded  the  prize  schooner  ]ulia,  in  earlier  days  called 
the  ]ulia  Ann.  He  had  arrived  in  the  Santa  Barbara  roadstead  on  30  Dec.  and 
landed  a  cannon  for  the  use  of  the  battalion  (bryant,  386).  See  Doc.  No.  99 
for  JCF's  instructions  to  Selden. 

12.  "The  Willows"  was  about  two  miles  east  of  present-day  Fillmore  (out- 
land,  412-13). 

13.  On  the  morning  of  11  Jan.  "the  artillery,  horses  and  baggage,  with  an 
advance-guard  and  escort,"  went  through  the  narrow  pass,  while  the  main 
body  took  a  circuitous  route  over  a  ridge  of  hills  to  the  right  of  the  main 
road  (bryant,  390). 

14.  Before  arriving  at  the  Mission  San  Fernando  at  about  1  p.m.  on  11  Jan., 
the  battalion  had  been  met  by  two  Californians,  who  informed  them  of 
Kearny's  and  Stockton's  victories  at  San  Gabriel  and  the  Mesa  and  of  the 
American  reoccupation  of  Los  Angeles  on  10  Jan.  A  Frenchman  also 
brought  a  letter  (probably  Doc.  No.  102)  to  JCF  from  Kearny  (bryant, 

15.  See  Doc.  No.  103,  and  note  that  it  bears  the  date  12  Jan.  1847. 

16.  See  Doc.  No.  106,  and  note  that  the  Articles  of  Capitulation  bear  the 
date  13  Jan.  1847. 

94.   Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Robert  F.  Stockton 

San  Diego 
December  22d  1846 
Dear  Commodore 

If  you  can  take  from  here  sufficient  force  to  oppose  the  Californians 
now  supposed  to  be  near  the  Pueblos,  &  waiting  for  the  approach  of 
Lieut.  Col.  Fremont  I  advise  that  you  do  so,  &  that  you  march  with 
the  force  as  early  as  possible  in  the  direction  of  the  Pueblos  by  which 
you  will  either  be  able  to  form  a  junction  with  Lieut.  Col.  Fremont 
or  make  a  division  very  much  in  his  favor. 


Four  Unidentified  Members  of  the  California  Battalion.  From  a  photo- 
graph taken  29  Aug.  1848,  Washington,  D.C.,  in  the  Los  Angeles 
County  Museum  of  Natural  History. 


I  do  not  think  that  Lieut.  Col.  Fremont  should  be  left  unsupported 
to  fight  a  battle  upon  which  the  fate  of  California  may  for  a  long 
time  depend  if  there  are  troops  here  to  act  in  concert  with  him.  Your 
force  as  it  advances  might  surprise  the  enemy  at  the  San  Louis  [San 
Luis  Rey]  Mission  &  make  prisoners  of  them.  I  shall  be  happy  in 
such  an  expedition  to  accompany  you,  &  to  give  you  any  aid,  either 
of  head  or  hand  of  which  I  may  be  capable.  Yours  Truly, 

(Signed)  S.  W.  Kearny 
Brig.  Genl. 

Copy  of  enclosure  C-1  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  30  Jan.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-120  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Kearny  and  the  remnants  of  his  Army  of  the 
West  had  limped  into  San  Diego  on  12  Dec.  The  American  force  had  been 
badly  mauled  by  the  Californians  on  6  Dec.  in  the  battle  of  San  Pasqual, 
suffering  casualties  of  twenty-one  or  twenty-two  dead  and  almost  as  many 
injured,  the  general  himself  being  wounded.  However,  Kearny  wrote  to  the 
adjutant  about  the  "victory"  gained  over  "more  than  double  our  force," 
despite  the  fact  that  his  force  was  not  able  to  move  from  "Mule  Hill"  until 
the  arrival  of  a  relief  party  under  Lieut.  Andrew  V.  F.  Gray — sent  by  Stock- 
ton after  urgent  pleas  for  aid  came  to  the  commodore's  headquarters.  The 
Historical  Division  of  the  Army  War  College  declared  in  1928,  "General 
Kearny  did  not  sustain  a  defeat  at  San  Pasqual"  (quoted  in  clarke,  230), 
and  Kearny's  biographer  rates  San  Pasqual  an  American  victory,  since  the 
force  was  able  to  march  ultimately  to  its  goal:  San  Diego  (clarke,  229-32). 
Stockton,  Benton,  and  JCF  stigmatized  it  as  a  defeat,  and  so  have  many 
historians.  Except  for  John  S.  Griffin,  the  assistant  surgeon,  and  Maj. 
Thomas  B.  Swords,  the  quartermaster,  every  line  officer  who  fought  in  the 
battle  of  San  Pasqual  received  awards  for  gallant  and  meritorious  service. 
"A  grand  affair  for  the  Brevet  of  Major  Gen'l  to  be  conferred,"  Swords  wrote 
bitterly  to  Griffin  (griffin  [2],  33:266-67).  Many  details  of  the  battle  were 
revealed  during  JCF's  court-martial  (ct.  martial,  63-66).  For  a  historical  dis- 
cussion, see  woodward,  clarke,  195-232,  and  marti,  92-101. 

95.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Stephen  Watts  Kearny 

Head  Quarters 
San  Diego 
December  23d.  1846 
Dear  General 

Your  note  of  yesterday  was  handed  to  me  last  night  by  Capt. 
Turner^  of  the  Dragoons.  In  reply  to  that  note,  permit  me  to  refer 












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Stephen  Watts  Kearny.  From  a  mezzotint  engraving 
in  the  Library  of  Congress. 


you  to  the  conversation  held  with  you  yesterday  morning  at  your 
Quarters.  I  stated  to  you  distinctly  that  I  intended  to  march  upon  St. 
Louis  Rey  as  soon  as  possible,  with  a  part  of  the  forces  under  my 
command — that  I  was  very  desirous  to  march  on  to  the  Pueblo  to 
cooperate  with  Col.  Fremont,  but  my  movements  after  taking  St. 
Louis  Rey  would  depend  entirely  upon  the  information  that  I  might 
receive  as  to  the  movements  of  Col.  Fremont,  and  the  enemy.  It 
might  be  necessary  for  me  to  stop  the  pass  at  San  Felipe,  or  march 
back  to  San  Diego. 

Now  my  dear  General,  if  the  object  of  your  note  is  to  advise  me  to 
do  any  thing  which  would  enable  a  large  force  of  enemy  to  get  into 
my  Rear  &  cut  off  my  communication  with  San  Diego,  and  harass 
the  safety  of  the  garrison,  and  the  Ships  in  the  harbour,  you  will  ex- 
cuse me  for  saying,  I  cannot  follow  such  advice. 

My  purpose  still  is  to  march  for  St.  Louis  Rey  as  soon  as  I  can  get 
the  Dragoons  &  Riflemen  mounted  which  I  hope  to  do  in  two  days. 
Faithfully  Your  Obdt.  Servt. 

(Signed)  R.  F.  Stockton 
Commander  in  chief  &  Governor  of  the  Territory  of  California 

To  Brig.  Genl.  W.  S.  Kearny 
U.S.  Army 

Copy  of  enclosure  C-2  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  30  Jan.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-120  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 

1.  Henry  Smith  Turner  (1811-81),  Kearny's  aide  and  adjutant  and  a 
kinsman  of  Robert  E.  Lee,  kept  a  journal  of  his  march  from  Fort  Leaven- 
worth to  Warner's  rancho  with  the  Army  of  the  West  and  another  of  his 
return  east  with  Kearny  in  the  summer  of  1847.  Both  have  been  edited 
recently  by  Dwight  L.  Clarke  (see  turner).  Turner  would  resign  from  the 
Army  in  July  1848  and  embark  on  a  financial  career  in  St.  Louis  with  his 
wife's  wealthy  uncle,  James  H.  Lucas.  A  fellow  officer  and  friend  in  Cali- 
fornia, William  T.  Sherman,  became  manager  of  the  firm's  San  Francisco 
branch  bank  in  the  1850s. 


96.   Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Robert  F.  Stockton 

San  Diego 
Dec  23d  1846 
Dear  Commodore 

I  have  received  yours  of  this  date,  repeating,  as  you  say,  what  you 
stated  to  me  yesterday,  &  in  reply  I  have  only  to  remark,  that  if  I 
had  so  understood  you,  I  could  not  have  written  my  letter  to  you  of 
last  evening — you  certainly  could  not  for  a  moment  suppose  that  I 
would  advise  or  suggest  to  you  any  movement,  which  might  endan- 
ger the  safety  of  the  Garrison  and  the  ships  in  the  harbor.  My  letter 
of  yesterday's  date  stated  that  "if  you  can  take  from  here  &c  &c."  of 
which  you  were  the  Judge  &  of  which  I  knew  nothing.  Truly  yours, 

(Signed)  S.  W.  Kearny 
Brig.  Genl. 
Comd.  R.  F.  Stockton 
Comd  U.S.  Navy  &c  &c 
San  Diego 

Copy  of  enclosure  C-3  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  30  Jan.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-120  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 

97.   Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Stephen  Watts  Kearny 

Head  Quarters 
San  Diego 
December  24th.  1846 
Dear  General 

The  animals  for  our  march  are  being  selected  today,  &  although 
not  in  very  good  condition,  I  propose  to  move  on  the  Road  to  [Pueblo] 
de  los  Angeles  on  Monday  at  10  A.M.  &  open  if  possible  a  communica- 
tion with  Col.  Fremont's  force,  now  supposed  to  be  approaching  the 

I  expect  to  be  joined  by  one  hundred  Indians,  who  with  the 
Mounted  Men  will  be  ready  at  any  time  to  make  a  forced  march 
back  to  San  Diego,  in  the  event  of  the  insurgents  attempting  to  get 
in  our  rear  to  attack  the  garrison. 


You  were  kind  enough  to  say  that  you  would  accompany  me  on 
this  march — nothing  could  be  more  serviceable,  &  nothing  more 
gratifying  to  me  personally  than  your  presence  and  I  sincerely  hope 
that  your  health  will  permit  you  to  do  so.  Faithfully  Your  Obdt. 

(Signed)  R.  F.  Stockton 
Commodore  &c. 
Brig  Genl.  W.  S.  Kearny 
U.S.  Army 

Copy  of  enclosure  C-5  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  30  Jan.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-120  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 

98.   Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

Head  Quarters 

San  Diego 

December  24th.  1846 

6  o'clock  P.  M. 

My  Dear  Colonel: 

I  hope  to  leave  on  Monday  with  five  hundred  men  and  six  pieces 
of  artillery,  able  I  think  to  conquer  the  whole  Country.  I  send  this 
to  you  to  urge  you  to  take  great  care  how  you  charge  the  insurgents, 
or  how  you  chase  them.  They  will  run  until  they  get  you  in  disorder 
and  separated,  and  suddenly  turn  and  charge — do  not  let  them  get 
behind  you;  they  are  so  expert  in  horsemanship  that  you  cannot 
hope  to  compete  with  them  in  that  art,  or  that  of  dodging  or  run- 
ning: therefore  keep  your  men  quiet  and  steady — let  the  enemy  do 
the  charging  and  your  Rifles  will  do  the  rest. 

I  hope  to  be  at  St.  Luis  Rey  on  Wednesday.  If  you  have  even  one 
chance  against  you,  join  me  before  fight  and  we  can  do  as  we  see  fit 
afterwards.  The  bearer [s]  will  tell  you  all  the  news  and  our  route. 
Send  them  back  as  soon  as  possible. 

God  bless  you  and  prosper  our  Country.  Very  Truly  Yours, 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Lieut.  Col.  Fremont 
Military  Commandant  of  California 


Lbk  (DNA-45,  Entry  395    [E-20-A],  Letterbook  of  Robert  F.  Stockton, 

99.  Fremont  to  Edward  A.  Selden 

Santa  Barbara,  Jan  2d  1847 

You  will  please  proceed  with  your  vessel  to  the  western  extremity 
of  the  Rincon^  and  awaiting  there  the  appearance  of  my  force,  en- 
deavor to  cooperate  with  me,  should  it  become  necessary  to  force  a 

I  am  informed  that  the  Eastern  extremity  of  the  passage  which  is 
called  Punta  Gorda,  is  occupied  by  the  Enemy  with  at  present,  but 
one  piece  of  artillery.  On  the  morning  of  the  4th  instant  my  advance 
will  enter  the  passage  which  in  the  meantime  you  will  keep  under 
strict  surveillance,  and  give  me  immediate  information  of  any  move- 
ment or  increase  of  force;  using  for  that  purpose  the  subjoined  sig- 
nals. Your  slight  force  and  want  of  boats  make  it  difficult  for  you  to 
render  efficient  assistance.  You  will  however  do  the  best  you  can, 
and  after  the  passage  of  the  Rincon  make  your  way  to  Commodore 
Stockton,  whom  you  will  acquaint  with  our  Situation  and  intended 
movements.  Having  procured  the  necessary  supplies  for  your  vessel 
you  will  immediately  return  to  San  Pedro  and  await  there  farther 
communication  from  me.  One  gun,  followed  after  an  interval  of  five 
minutes  by  a  rocket,  and  succeeded  by  a  blue  light  on  the  beach  will 
be  understood  by  you  as  a  signal  for  a  boat.  You  will  reply  by  a 
rocket  and  blue  light.  I  am  with  Respect  Your  Obdt.  Servt. 

(Signed)  J.  C.  Fremont 
Lt.  Col.  U.S.  Army 
Captain  George  [Edward  A.]  Selden 
Schooner  Julia 
Bay  of  Santa  Barbara 

Copy  19  (1)  enclosed  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-217  1847,  £/w  K-209  1846).  For  details  on  the  taking  of  the  schooner  Julia 
Ann,  see  Doc.  No.  82,  n.  3. 

1.  For  JCF's  description  of  the  pass,  see  p.  238. 


100.  Fremont  to  Robert  F.  Stockton 


Santa  Barbara 
Jany.  2d.  1847 

I  reached  this  place  on  the  28th  ultimo,  with  an  effective  force  of 
about  three  hundred  and  fifty  men  and  three  pieces  of  artillery. 

Bad  weather  and  poor  horses  have  harassed  and  impeded  our 
movements,  making  our  advance  extremely  slow. 

I  shall  leave  our  present  position  in  the  afternoon  and  on  the  4th 
pass  the  Rincon,  the  eastern  extremity  of  which  is  occupied  by  a 
force  of  the  Californians,  with  the  strength  of  which  I  am  not  in- 
formed. Lieut.  Selden,  in  the  Julia,  will  cooperate  with  me  at  that 

I  shall  thence  march  directly  to  the  Pueblo  de  los  Angeles,  and  if 
not  met  by  the  enemy,  on  the  road,  will  attack  him  at  the  town.  I 
am  very  Respectfully  Your  Obedient  Servant, 

(Signed)  J.  C.  Fremont 
Lt.  Col.  U.S.  Army 

Commdg.  Cal.  Battalion 
Commodore  R.  F.  Stockton 
Governor  &  Commander  in  Chief  of  Territory  of  California 

Copy  19  (2)  enclosed  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-217  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 

101.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

Camp  at  San  Louis  Rey, 
January  3,  1847 
My  Dear  Colonel: 

We  arrived  here  last  night  from  San  Diego,  and  leave  to-day  on 
our  march  for  the  City  of  the  Angels,  where  I  hope  to  be  in  five  or 
six  days.  I  learn  this  morning  that  you  are  at  Santa  Barbara,  and  send 
this  despatch  by  the  way  of  San  Diego,  in  the  hope  that  it  may  reach 
you  in  time.  If  there  is  one  single  chance  against  you,  you  had  better 


not  fight  the  rebels  until  I  get  up  to  aid  you,  or  you  can  join  me  on 
the  road  to  the  Pueblo. 

These  fellows  are  well  prepared,  and  Mervine's  and  Kearny's  de- 
feat have  given  them  a  deal  more  confidence  and  courage.  If  you  do 
fight  before  I  see  you,  keep  your  forces  in  close  order.  Do  not  allow 
them  to  be  separated,  or  even  unnecessarily  extended.  They  will 
probably  try  to  deceive  you  by  a  sudden  retreat,  or  pretended  run- 
away, and  then  unexpectedly  return  to  the  charge  after  your  men  get 
in  disorder  in  the  chase.  My  advice  is  to  allow  them  to  do  all  the 
charging  and  running  and  let  your  rifles  do  the  rest. 

In  the  art  of  horsemanship,  of  dodging,  and  running,  it  is  in  vain 
to  attempt  to  compete  with  them. 

In  haste,  very  truly,  your  friend  and  obedt.  servt. 

R.  F.  Stockton 

To  Lieut.  Col.  Fremont. 

P.  S.  I  understand  that  it  is  probable  they  will  try  to  avoid  me  &  fight 
you  separately. 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Entry  395  [E-20-A],  Letterbook  of  Robert  F.  Stockton, 
1846-47).  Also  in  ct.  martial,  272-73,  with  the  second  clause  of  the  first 
sentence  in  the  second  paragraph  italicized.  See  p.  238  for  JCF's  description 
of  Hamley's  arrival  with  this  letter  from  Stockton. 

102.   Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Fremont 

Pueblo  de  los  Angeles 
Sunday,  January  10,  1846  [1847],  4  p.  m. 
Dear  Fremont: 

We  are  in  possession  of  this  place,  with  a  force  of  marines  and 
sailors,  having  marched  into  it  this  morning.  Join  us  as  soon  as  you 
can,  or  let  me  know,  if  you  want  us  to  march  to  your  assistance; 
avoid  charging  the  enemy;  their  force  does  not  exceed  400,  perhaps 
not  more  than  300.  Please  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  this,  and  des- 
patch the  bearer  at  once.  Yours, 

S.  W.  Kearny, 

Brigadier  General,  U.  S.  Army 
Lieutenant  Colonel  J.  C.  Fremont 
Mounted  riflemen,  commanding,  &c.  &c. 


Printed  in  ct.  martial,  73.  This  is  undoubtedly  the  letter  which  the 
Frenchmen  had  brought  JCF  on  11  Jan.  1847  near  the  Mission  San  Fernando 
( BRYANT,  391)  and  is  evidence  that  JCF  knew  of  the  route  of  the  Californians 
before  he  ordered  a  truce  on  12  Jan.  (Doc.  No.  103). 

Kearny  testified  at  the  court-martial  that  he  considered  this  letter  and  his 
letters  of  12  and  13  Jan.  1847  to  JCF  to  be  "semi-official,"  and  that  he  kept 
no  copies  (ct.  martial,  72).  He  does  not  mention  that  Stockton  was  in  Los 
Angeles,  but  JCF  undoubtedly  learned  that  he  was  from  various  messengers 
and  Californians.  "|Wel  camped  in  the  Mission  of  San  Fernando  .  .  .  and 
received  authentic  information  that  Commodore  Stockton  had  defeated' 
Flores  .  .  ."  (mc  lane,  102). 

103.   Fremont's  Proclamation 

[12  Jan.  1847] 


Know  ye  that  in  consequence  of  propositions  of  peace  or  cessation 
of  hostilities,  being  submitted  to  me  as  commandant  of  the  Califor- 
nian  Battalion  of  United  States  Forces,  which  has  so  far  been  acceded 
to  by  me,  as  to  cause  me  to  appoint  a  board  of  commissioners  to  con- 
fer with  a  similar  board  appointed  by  the  Californians,  and  it  requir- 
ing a  little  time  to  close  the  negotiations,  it  is  agreed  upon  and 
ordered  by  me,  that  an  entire  cessation  of  hostilities  shall  take  place 
until  tomorrow  afternoon  (Jan,  13th)  and  that  the  said  Californians 
be  permitted  to  bring  in  their  wounded  to  the  mission  of  San  Fer- 
nandez [Fernando],  where  also  if  they  choose,  they  can  remove  their 
camp,  to  facilitate  said  negotiations. 

Given  under  my  hand  and  seal  this  twelfth  day  of  January  1847. 

J.  C.  Fremont, 
Lieut.  Colonel  U.  S.  Army  &  Military  Commandant  of  California 

DS,  enclosure  in  Stockton  to  (ieorge  Bancroft,  15  Jan.  1847  (DNA-45, 
Pacific  Squadron,  Commodore  Stockton,  1846-47).  The  body  of  this  docu- 
ment and  the  Articles  of  Capitulation,  13  Jan.  1847,  are  in  the  hand  of 
Theodore  Talbot. 


104.  Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Fremont 

Pueblo  de  los  Angeles, 
Tuesday,  January  12,  1847,  6  p.m. 
Dear  Fremont: 

I  am  here  in  possession  of  this  place,  with  sailors  and  marines.  We 
met  and  defeated  the  whole  force  of  the  Californians  on  the  8th  and 
9th;  they  have  not  now  to  exceed  300  men  concentrated;  avoid 
charging  them,  and  come  to  me  at  this  place.  Acknowledge  the  hour 
of  receipt  of  this,  and  when  I  may  expect  you.  Regard  to  Russell. 

S.  W.  Kearny, 
Brigadier  General 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Fremont 

Printed  in  ct.  martial,  73. 

105.   Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Robert  F.  Stockton 

Hd  Qrs.  Army  of  the  West 
CiUDAD  DE  Los  Angelos,  Jany.  13  '47 

I  fear  from  the  armistice  which  I  this  morning  saw,  signed  by 
Lieut  Col  Fremont  &  sent  to  me  by  you,  that  our  countrymen  under 
Col.  F.  are  entirely  ignorant  of  our  being  here,  that  they  are  em- 
barassed  in  their  movements  &  I  further  fear,  that  unless  something 
is  done  at  once  to  inform  them  of  the  true  State  of  affairs  here,  that 
they  may  capitulate  and  retire  to  the  upper  country  to  avoid  so  seri- 
ous an  evil.  I  advise  &  offer  to  take  one  half  of  this  command,  from 
250  to  300  men  &  march  at  once  to  form  a  junction  with  Lieut  Col. 
Fremont.  Very  Respectfully  Yr.  Obt.  Servt. 

S.  W.  Kearny 
Brig.  Genl. 
Comdr.  R.  F.  Stockton,  U.S.  Navy 
Gov  of  California,  Comdg.  U.  S.  forces 


Copy  of  enclosure  D  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  30  Jan.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-120  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  On  the  copy  to  Jones,  Kearny  observed  in  a 
note  dated  27  Jan.,  "No  answer  reed,  to  this  but  a  verbal  reply  that  Com.  S. 
did  not  think  Lieut.  Col.  F.  was  in  any  danger." 

106.  Articles  of  Capitulation 

[13  Jan.  1847] 

Articles  of  Capitulation  made  and  entered  into,  at  the  Ranch  of 
Cowenga  this  Thirteenth  day  of  January,  Anno  Domini  Eighteen 
Hundred  and  forty  seven  between  P.  B.  Reading,  Major  Louis  Mc- 
Lane  Jr.  Commdg.  Artillery,  Wm.  H.  Russell  Ordnance  Officer, 
Commissioners  appointed  by  J.  C.  Fremont,  Lieut.  Colonel,  United 
States  Army,  and  Military  Commandant  of  the  Territory  of  Cali- 
fornia, and  Jose  Antonio  Carrillo,  Commdt.  Escuadron,  Augustin 
Olvera,  Diputado,  Commissioners  appointed  by  Don  Andres  Pico, 
Commander-in-Chief  of  the  Californian  Forces  under  the  Mexican 

Article  1st 
The  Commissioners  on  the  part  of  the  Californians  agree,  that 
their  entire  force  shall  on  presentation  of  themselves  to  Lieut.  Col. 
Fremont  deliver  up  their  artillery  and  Public  Arms,  and  that  they 
shall  return  peaceably  to  their  homes  conforming  to  the  Laws  and 
Regulations  of  the  United  States  and  not  again  take  up  arms  during 
the  war  between  the  United  States  and  Mexico,  but  will  assist  and 
aid  in  placing  the  country  in  a  state  of  peace  and  Tranquillity. 

Article  2nd 
The  Commissioners  on  the  part  of  Lieut.  Col.  Fremont  agree  and 
bind  themselves  on  the  fulfillment  of  the  1st  Article  by  the  Cali- 
fornians, that  they  shall  be  guaranteed  protection  of  Life  and  prop- 
erty whether  on  parole  or  otherwise. 

Article  3d 
That  until  a  Treaty  of  Peace  be  made  and  signed  between  the  United 
States  of  North  America  and  the  Republic  of  Mexico,  no  Californian 
or  other  Mexican  citizen  shall  be  bound  to  take  the  oath  of  alle- 


Article  4th 
That  any  CaHfornian  or  other  citizen  of  Mexico,  desiring  is  per- 
mitted by  this  Capitulation  to  leave  the  country  without  let  or  hin- 

Article  5th 
That  in  virtue  of  the  aforesaid  articles,  equal  rights  and  privileges 
are  vouchsafed  to  every  citizen  of  California  as  are  enjoyed  by  the 
citizens  of  the  United  States  of  North  America. 

Article  6th 
All  officers,  citizens.  Foreigners,  or  others  shall  receive  the  protec- 
tion guaranteed  by  the  2nd  Article. 

Article  7th 
This  Capitulation  is  intended  to  be  no  bar  in  effecting  such  ar- 
rangements as  may  in  future  be  in  justice  required  by  both  parties. 

P.  B.  Reading,  Major  California  Battalion 

Wm.  H.  Russell,  Ord.  Officer  of  Calif.  Batt. 

Louis  McLane  Jr.,  Comdg.  Artillery  California  Battalion 

Jose  Anto.  Carrillo^  Agustin  Olvera" 

Comandte.  de  Escuadron  Diputado 


J.  C.  Fremont, 
Lt.  Col.  U.  S.  Army  and  Military  Commandant  of  California 


Andres  Pico 
Comandte.  de  Escuadron  y  Jefe  de  los  fuerzas  nacionales  en  Cali- 

DS,  enclosure  in  Stockton  to  George  Bancroft,  15  Jan.  1847  (DNA-45, 
Pacific  Squadron,  Commodore  Stockton,  1846-47).  The  body  of  the  Articles 
of  Capitulation  and  the  JCF  proclamation  of  12  Jan.  1847  are  in  the  hand  of 
Theodore  Talbot;  the  signatures  to  the  Articles  of  Capitulation  are  those  of 
Reading,  Russell,  McLane,  Carrillo,  Olvera,  JCF,  and  Pico.  The  original 
Spanish  text  of  the  articles,  with  the  signatures  of  the  commissioners,  JCF, 
and  Pico,  is  in  CU-B.  The  Annual  Publications  of  the  Historical  Society  of 
Southern  California,  15  (1932):303-10,  reproduces  it  in  facsimile  and  also 
gives  an  English  translation  which  varies  considerably  from  the  Talbot  docu- 

The  signing  took  place  at  the  home  of  Don  Tomas  Feliz,  at  the  north  end 
of  Cahuenga  Pass  and  within  a  few  hundred  feet  of  the  Rio  de  Porciuncula 
(Los  Angeles  River).  A  stretch  of  El  Camino  Real  wound  its  way  nearby, 
linking  Mission  San  Fernando  with  El  Pueblo  de  los  Angeles.  The  site  is 


now  within  the  limits  of  Universal  City.  The  agreement  was  reached  in  the 
morning,  and  William  H.  Russell  was  dispatched  to  Los  Angeles  to  report 
the  capitulation.  The  treaty  is  known  as  the  Treaty  of  Cahuenga,  the  name 
being  derived  from  that  of  a  former  Gabrielea  Indian  rancheria  located 

Stockton's  earlier  unwillingness  to  treat  with  the  Californians,  and  his 
irritation  at  their  surrender  to  JCF,  come  through  in  the  letter  to  Bancroft 
by  which  he  forwarded  the  armistice  and  the  Articles  of  Capitulation.  "It 
seems  that  not  being  able  to  negotiate  with  me,  and  having  lost  the  battles 
of  the  8th  [on  the  banks  of  the  San  Gabriel  River]  and  9th  [the  Mesa],  they 
met  Colonel  Fremont  on  the  12th  instant,  on  his  way  here,  who  not  knowing 
what  had  occurred,  he  entered  into  the  capitulation  with  them,  which  I  now 
send  to  you;  and  although  I  refused  to  do  it  myself,  still,  I  have  thought 
it  best  to  approve  it."  It  already  has  been  noted  that  when  JCF  made  peace 
with  the  Californians,  he  knew  of  the  American  occupation  of  Los  Angeles. 

A  naval  surgeon  wrote  in  his  journal  that  Lieut.  George  Minor,  who  had 
commanded  the  garrison  at  San  Diego,  said  that  Stockton  called  JCF  "a 
coward,  traitor,  and  other  such  harsh  names"  after  he  learned  of  the  treaty 
with  the  Californians  (duvall,  95). 

1.  Jose  Antonio  Carrillo  (1796-1862)  had  been  in  and  out  of  public  life  for 
twenty-five  years  when  he  signed  the  Treaty  of  Cahuenga.  In  1846  he 
joined  Castro  at  Santa  Clara  as  major  general  of  the  Californian  forces,  but 
he  did  not  flee  with  his  commander  to  Mexico  in  August.  In  fact,  he  was 
second  in  command  when  Flores  drove  Gillespie  out  of  Los  Angeles. 

2.  Agustin  Olvera  had  served  as  secretary  and  member  of  the  Assembly 
under  both  Pio  Pico  and  Jose  Maria  Flores.  After  the  American  conquest 
he  became  a  lawyer  and  a  judge,  and  in  1856  he  was  appointed  receiver  of 
the  U.S.  Land  Office  at  Los  Angeles  (pioneer  register). 

107.   Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Fremont 

CiuDAD  DE  Los  Angeles 
January  13th,  1847—12  (noon) 
Dear  Fremont: 

We  are  in  force  in  this  place — sailors  and  marines — join  us  as  soo7i 
as  possible.  We  are  ignorant  of  your  movements,  and  know  nothing 
of  you  further  than  your  armistice  of  yesterday.  Yours, 

S.  W.  Kearney, 
Brigadier  General 
Lieut.  Col,  Fremont 

Printed  in  ct.  martial,  73-74. 


Andres  Pico.  From  a  photograph  in  the  Henry  E.  Huntington  Library 

and  Art  Gallery. 


108.  Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Fremont 

Dear  Fremont: 


January  13th,  1847—2  p.m. 

We  have  been  here  since  the  10th— have  plenty  of  marines  and 
sailors — we  know^  nothing  of  you  except  your  armistice  of  yester- 
day, signed  by  yourself.  I  have  sent  several  letters  to  you,  and  fear 
they  have  been  intercepted,  as  I  have  received  no  answer.  Come  here 
at  once  with  your  whole  force  and  join  us,  or,  if  you  cannot,  let  me 
know  it,  and  I  will  go  to  you.  The  enemy  cannot  possibly  have  near 
you  more  than  300,  most  probably  not  more  than  150  men.  Acknowl- 
edge the  hour  of  receiving  this,  and  send  back  the  bearer  at  once, 
and  write  but  little,  as  it  may  get  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy  instead 
of  mine. 

We  defeated  the  enemy  on  the  8th  and  on  the  9th,  during  our 
march.  Since  then,  they  have  been  much  scattered,  and  several,  no 
doubt,  gone  home. 

I  repeat  we  are  ignorant  of  every  thing  relating  to  your  command, 
except  what  we  conjecture  from  your  armistice,  signed  by  yourself. 

S.  W.  Kearny, 
Brigadier  General 
Do  not  charge  the  enemy. 

Lt.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 
Mounted  Riflemen,  &C.,  &c. 

Printed  in  CT.  martial,  74.  Under  questioning  at  the  court-martial  Kearny 
said  he  did  not  recall  underscoring  "Do  not"  of  ''Do  not  charge  the  enemy," 
and  was  of  the  opinion  that  if  JCF  had  charged  the  enemy  without  sabres, 
he  would  have  been  defeated. 

109.  Fremont  to  Stephen  Watts  Kearny 

On  the  march,  Jany.  13th  1846  [1847] 
Dear  Sir, 

I  have  the  honor  to  report  to  you  my  arrival  at  this  place  with  400 
mounted  riflemen  and  six  pieces  of  artillery,  including  among  the 


latter  two  pieces  lately  in  the  possession  of  the  Californians/  Their 
entire  force,  under  the  command  of  D,  Andro  Pico,  have  this  day 
laid  down  their  arms  and  surrendered  to  my  command.  Very  re- 
spectfully Yr.  Obdt.  Servt. 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Lt  Col.  U.S.  Army,  and  Military  Commandant  of  the  Territory  of 

Brig.  General  S.  W.  Kearny 
Commanding  U.  S.  Forces, 
Pueblo  de  los  Angeles 

ALS,  RC,  enclosure  3  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-217  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Endorsed.  Russell  carried  not  only  the  Articles  of 
Capitulation  to  Los  Angeles  on  the  evening  of  13  Jan.  but  also  this  letter  to 
Kearny,  who  claimed  that  it  constituted  an  official  report  of  the  California 
Battalion  to  him  and  a  recognition  that  he  was  JCF's  commander.  JCF  main- 
tained at  his  court-martial  that  this  was  a  private  letter,  written  in  reply  to 
Kearny's  four  urgent,  familiar,  informative  letters  of  10,  12,  and  13  Jan.,  and 
not  a  reporting  of  the  battalion.  Furthermore,  JCF  pointed  out  that  Kearny's 
letters  had  not  revealed  that  Stockton  was  with  him  at  Los  Angeles,  and  he 
intimated  that  such  information  had  been  deliberately  withheld  (ct.  martial, 
6-7,  72-74,  400-405). 

Russell  testified  that  he  had,  indeed,  first  called  upon  Kearny  and  delivered 
the  letter,  but  on  being  told  that  Stockton  was  in  command,  went  to  him  to 
report  the  capitulation;  JCF  had  given  him  instructions  "carefully  to  inquire 
as  to  who  was  in  chief  command,  and  to  make  my  report  accordingly."  He 
added,  "No  such  contingency  was  contemplated,  I  think,  by  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Fremont,  when  he  dispatched  me  on  that  mission,  as  the  command 
being  claimed  by  them  both  [Kearny  and  Stockton]"  (ct.  martial,  243-45, 
257,  263). 

After  reporting  to  Stockton,  Russell  returned  to  dine  with  Kearny  and 
Capt.  Henry  S.  Turner  and  spent  the  night  in  Kearny's  quarters.  The  next 
morning,  14  Jan.,  he  rode  out  of  Los  Angeles  to  meet  JCF,  who  was  march- 
ing toward  the  city  at  the  head  of  the  battalion,  and  conducted  him  to  the 
quarters  assigned  by  Stockton.  He  reported  that  conversations  with  Kearny 
and  Stockton  indicated  that  both  were  anxious  to  confer  upon  JCF  the  office 
of  governor.  "1  told  him  [JCF]  .  .  .  that  I  was  satisfied,  from  what  had 
occurred,  that  General  Kearny  was  a  better  friend  of  his  than  Stockton;  but, 
from  Kearny's  own  admission,  I  regretted  to  have  to  give  it  as  my  opinion 
that  we  should  have  to  look  to  Commodore  Stockton  still  as  commander-in- 
chief,  and  submitted  to  implicidy,  as  I  thought,  by  Kearny"  (Russell's  testi- 
mony, CT.  MARTIAL,  263).  Benjamin  D.  Wilson  remembered  the  streets  being 
full  of  rumors  that  JCF  did  not  intend  to  recognize  the  superiority  of  either 
Stockton  or  Kearny  (wilson,  123). 

1.  Later  JCF  charged  that  Kearny  never  reported  to  the  government  the 
recovery  of  a  cannon  which  he  had  lost  at  the  battle  of  San  Pasqual,  and 
this  fact,  he  said,  evidenced  "his  temper  towards  me"  (ct.  martial,  45). 


110.   Articles  of  Capitulation,  Additional  Article 

[16  Jan.  1847] 

That  the  paroles  of  all  officers,  citizens  and  others  of  the  United 
States  and  of  naturalized  citizens  of  Mexico  are  by  this  foregoing 
capitulation  cancelled  and  every  condition  of  said  paroles  from  and 
after  this  date  are  of  no  farther  force  and  effect  and  all  prisoners  of 
both  parties  are  hereby  released. 

Ciudad  de  los  Angeles,  Jany.  16th.  1847 
Approved  Signed 

J.  C.  Fremont  P.  B.  Reading 

Lieut.  Col.  U.  S.  Army  Major  Calfa.  Battalion 

Mility.  Comdt.  of  California 

Louis  McLane,  Jr. 

Commdt.  Artillery 

Califora.  Battalion 

Wm.  H.  Russell 

Ordnance  Officer 

California  Battalion 

Andres  Pico  Jose  Antonio  Carrillo 

Commdt.  of  Squadron  and  Commdt.  of  Squadron 

Chief  of  the  National  forces  of  California  Agustin  Olvera 


I  do  hereby  certify  that  the  within  is  a  correct  copy  of  the  Capitu- 
lation effected  between  the  U.  States  and  California.  El  Pueblo  de 
Los  Angeles.  January  17th.  1847. 

(Signed)  P.  B.  Reading 
Major  Cala.  Battalion 

Copy  (DNA-45,  Area  9  File,  Pacific).  English  copies  of  the  Articles  of 
Capitulation,  13  Jan.  1847,  and  the  Adclitional  Article,  16  Jan.  1847,  were 
forwarded  by  W.  Branford  Shubrick  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  on  28  Jan. 
1847.  The  Navy  Department  acknowledged  their  receipt  on  10  May. 


The  Quarrel 
with  Stephen  Watts  Kearny 

111.   Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Robert  F.  Stockton 

Hd.  Qrs.  Army  of  the  West 
CiuDAD  LOS  Angeles 
January  16.  1847 

I  am  informed  that  you  are  now  engaged  in  organizing  a  civil 
government  &  appointing  officers  for  it  in  this  Territory.  As  this 
duty  has  been  especially  assigned  to  myself  by  orders  of  the  Presdt. 
of  the  U.  S.  conveyed  in  letters  to  me  from  the  Secy,  of  War  of  June 
3  &  18.  1846^  the  original  of  which  I  gave  to  you  on  the  13th  &  which 
you  returned  to  me  on  the  14th  &  copies  of  which  I  furnished  you 
with  on  the  26  Deer. 

I  have  to  ask  if  you  have  any  authority  from  the  Presdt.,  from  the 
Secty.  of  Navy,  or  from  any  other  channel  of  the  Presdt.  to  form 
such  government  &  make  such  appts.  ?  If  you  have  such  authority  & 
will  shew  it  to  me,  or  furnish  me  with  certified  copies  of  it,  I  will 
cheerfully  aquiesce  in  what  you  are  doing.  If  you  have  not  such  au- 
thority I  then  demand  that  you  cease  all  further  proceedings  relating 
to  the  formation  of  a  civil  government  for  this  territory,  as  I  cannot 
recognize  in  you  any  right  in  assuming  to  perform  duties  confided 
to  me  by  the  President.  Very  Respectfully  Yr.  Obt.  Servt. 

(Signed)  S.  W.  Kearny 
Brig.  Genl.  U.S.A. 
Com.  R.  F.  Stockton 
U.  S.  Navy 
Actg.  Govnr. 


Copy  of  enclosure  E-2  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  30  Jan.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-120  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Endorsed. 

1.  For  an  extract  of  the  18  June  1846  letter,  see  the  enclosure  in  Doc. 
No.  113. 

112.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Stephen  Watts  Kearny 

Head  Quarters 


January  16th.  1847. 

In  answer  to  your  note  received  this  afternoon  I  need  say  but  little 
more  than  that  which  I  communicated  to  you  in  a  conversation  at 
San  Diego — That  California  was  conquered  &  a  civil  government 
put  into  successful  operation — That  a  copy  of  the  laws  made  by  me 
for  the  government  of  the  Territory,  &  the  names  of  the  officers 
selected  to  see  them  faithfully  executed  were  transmitted  to  the 
President  of  the  United  States  before  your  arrival  in  the  Territory.^ 

I  will  only  add,  that  I  cannot  do  anything,  nor  desist  from  doing 
anything  or  alter  anything  on  your  demand ;  which  I  will  submit  to 
the  President  &  ask  for  your  recall.  In  the  meantime  you  will  con- 
sider yourself  suspended  from  the  command  of  the  U.  S.  Forces  in 
this  place."  Faithfully  Yr.  Obdt.  Servt. 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Commander  in  chief 


Brvt.  Brig  Genl. 
S.  W.  Kearny 

LS,  enclosure  in  Kearny  to  W.  L.  Marcy,  21  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR. 
K-^75  1847).  Endorsed.  A  copy  may  also  be  found  as  enclosure  E-3  in  Kearny 
to  R.  Jones,  30  Jan.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR,  K-120  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 

1.  Stockton  and  Kearny  had  talked  on  28  Dec.  at  San  Diego  about  the  War 
Department's  order  to  Kearny  in  regard  to  the  civil  government  of  California 

(CT.  MARTIAL,  79). 

2.  On  cross-examination  at  the  court-martial  Kearny  testified  that  he  con- 
sidered the  word  "suspend"  applicable  to  the  sailors  and  Marines,  and  he 
accordingly  gave  up  command  over  them  but  continued  in  command  of  the 
dragoons  (ct.  martial,  117,  121). 


113.  William  H.  Emory  to  Fremont 

Head  qrs.  Army  of  the  West 


January  16th.  1847 

By  direction  of  Brig.  Genl.  Kearny  I  send  you  a  Copy  of  a  Com- 
munication to  him  from  the  Secty.  of  War,  dated  June  18th.  1846  in 
which  is  the  following  "These  Troops  and  such  as  may  be  organized 
in  CaHfornia  will  be  under  your  Command," — The  General  directs 
that  no  change  will  be  made  in  the  organization  of  your  Battalion 
of  Volunteers  or  Officers  appointed  in  it  without  his  Sanction  or  ap- 
proval being  first  obtained.  Very  Respectfully, 

(Signed)  W.  H.  Emory 
Lt.  &  Act  Asst.  Adj.  General 

Lt.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 
Mounted  Riflemen  Commdg.  Battn.  California  Vol. 


William  L.  Marcy  to  Stephen  Watts  Kearny 

War  Department 
Washington  June  18th.  1846 

•  *  •  ■ 

I  have  nothing  of  importance  to  add  to  the  despatches  which  have 
been  already  forwarded  to  you.  Since  my  last  letter  it  has  been  deter- 
mined to  send  a  small  force  round  Cape  Horn  to  California,  The 
Arms,  cannon  &  Provisions  to  be  sent  to  the  Pacific  will  be  accom- 
panied by  one  Compy.  of  Artillery  of  the  Regular  Army;  arrange- 
ments are  now  on  foot  to  send  a  Regt.  of  Volunteers  by  sea.  These 
troops  &  such  as  may  be  organized  in  California,  will  be  under  your 
command.  More  than  common  solicitude  will  be  felt  here  in  regard 
to  the  expedition  committed  to  you  &  it  is  desired  that  you  should 
avail  yourself  of  all  occasions  to  inform  the  Government  of  your 
progress  &  prospects.  The  President  desires  your  opinion  as  early  as 
you  are  in  a  situation  to  give  it,  of  the  practicability  of  your  reaching 
California  in  the  course  of  this  Autumn  or  in  the  early  part  of  next 


winter,  I  need  not  repeat  the  expression  of  his  wishes,  that  you 
should  take  military  possession  of  that  Country  as  soon  as  it  can  be 
safely  done.  I  am  with  great  respect  Your  Obt.  Servt. 

(Signed)  W.  L.  Marcy 
Sec  of  War 
To  Col.  S.  W.  Kearny 

Copy  of  enclosure  1  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-217  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  A  copy  without  the  enclosure  is  in  Kearny  to 
R.  Jones,  17  Jan.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR,  K-97  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Kearny's 
January  letter  to  Jones  bears  the  endorsement  "Reed.  Monday  night — by 
Majr.  Emory,  May  3d.  1847.  R.  Jones."  A  duplicate  had  already  been  received 
by  the  Adjutant  General  on  20  April  1847. 

Kearny's  order  through  Emory  was  another  play  in  the  power  struggle 
between  Stockton  and  Kearny.  The  general  is  here  trying  to  get  JCF  not  to 
recognize  Stockton's  appointment  of  Gillespie  as  major  of  the  California 
Battalion — an  appointment  made  necessary  by  the  fact  that  JCF  was  to  be- 
come governor. 

Kearny  later  maintained  that  he  wrote  this  order  to  JCF  before  receiving 
Stockton's  letter  of  16  Jan.,  but  in  any  case,  by  Emory's  testimony  it  was 
not  delivered  until  after  dusk  on  16  Jan.  (ct.  martial,  78,  118,  163)  and 
apparently  after  the  receipt  of  Stockton's  letter  suspending  him  from  the 
command  of  the  troops  at  Los  Angeles  (except  the  dragoons  of  the  regular 

Gillespie's  commission  is  dated  18  Jan.,  but  he  recalled  having  learned  that 
he  was  to  become  major  of  the  battalion  on  either  16  or  17  Jan.  (ct.  martial, 

William  Hemsley  Emory  (1811-87)  of  Maryland,  a  West  Point  graduate 
and  lieutenant  in  the  Corps  of  Topographical  Engineers,  had  been  assigned 
to  the  Army  of  the  West  as  its  senior  engineering  officer.  Undoubtedly  he 
was  responsible  for  saving  Kearny's  life  in  the  battle  of  San  Pasqual.  The 
general  soon  sent  him  east  with  dispatches,  and  en  route  Emory  probably 
wrote  a  number  of  letters  which  appeared  in  various  journals.  Since  they 
were  highly  critical  of  Stockton's  and  JCF's  roles  in  California,  they  aroused 
the  ire  of  Benton,  who,  however,  was  unable  to  block  a  double  brevet  to 
Emory  for  his  services  in  California.  His  Notes  of  a  Military  Reconnaissance 
from  Fort  Leavenworth  to  San  Diego,  published  in  1848  by  order  of  Congress 
in  an  edition  of  10,000  copies,  is  really  the  official  report  of  the  march  of  the 
Army  of  the  West.  Soon  after  the  Mexican  War,  Emory  became  the  astron- 
omer of  the  U.S.-Mexican  Boundary  Commission,  and  during  the  Civil  War 
was  breveted  a  major  general.  He  retired  in  1876  as  a  brigadier  general. 


114.  Fremont's  Appointment  as  Governor 

[16  Jan.  1847] 


Having,  by  authority  of  the  President  and  Congress  of  the  United 
States  of  North  America,  and  by  right  of  conquest,  taken  possession 
of  that  portion  of  territory  heretofore  known  as  upper  and  lower 
California;  and  having  declared  the  same  to  be  a  territory  of  the 
United  States,  under  the  name  of  the  territory  of  California;  and 
having  established  laws  for  the  government  of  the  said  territory,  /, 
Robert  F.  Stockton,  governor  and  commander-in-chief  of  the  same, 
do,  in  virtue  of  the  authority  in  me  vested,  and  in  obedience  to  the 
aforementioned  laws,  appoint  /.  C.  Fremotit,  esq.  governor  and 
commander-in-chief  of  the  territory  of  California,  until  the  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States  shall  otherwise  direct. 

Given  under  my  hand  and  seal,  on  this  sixteenth  day  of  January, 
Anno  Domini,  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  forty-seven,  at  the 
Ciudad  de  los  Angeles. 

R.  F.  Stockton 
Governor,  &c. 

Printed  in  CT.  martial,  175-76.  Months  later  William  H.  Russell,  who 
had  been  appointed  secretary  of  state,  was  confident  that  he  and  JCF  had 
gone  "not  later  than  the  middle  of  the  afternoon"  to  Stockton's  quarters  to 
receive  their  commissions.  Stockton,  on  the  other  hand,  believed  the  commis- 
sions had  been  delivered  at  an  evening  interview  (ct.  martial,  196-97,  263). 
At  this  time,  too,  he  thought  he  had  shown  Kearny's  letter  of  16  Jan.  and 
read  his  own  reply  (see  Doc.  Nos.  Ill  and  112),  and  recalled  JCF  stating 
during  this  visit  that  he  had  received  a  letter  from  Kearny  which  he  intended 
to  answer  the  next  day. 

JCF  did  not  actually  take  up  his  duties  as  governor  until  three  days  later, 
when  Stockton  left  Los  Angeles  for  San  Diego. 


115.   Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Fremont 

January  17  [1847] 

Dear  Colonel: 
I  wish  to  see  you  on  business.  Yours, 

Lieut.  Col.  Fremont 

Printed  in  CT.  martial,  76. 

S.  W.  Kearny 
Brigadier  General 

116.  Fremont  to  Stephen  Watts  Kearny 


Jany.  17.  1847 

I  have  the  honor  to  be  in  receipt  of  your  favor  of  last  night/  in 
which  I  am  directed  to  suspend  the  execution  of  Orders  which  in  my 
capacity  of  Military  Commandant  of  this  Territory  I  had  received 
from  Commodore  Stockton,  Governor  &  Commander  in  Chief  of 

I  avail  myself  of  an  early  hour  this  morning  to  make  such  a  reply 
as  the  brief  time  allowed  for  reflection  will  enable  me. 

I  found  Commodore  Stockton  in  possession  of  the  Country  exer- 
cising the  functions  of  Military  Commandant  and  Civil  Governor, 
as  early  as  July  of  last  year;  and  shortly  thereafter  I  received  from 
him  the  Commission  of  Military  Commandant,  the  duties  of  which 
I  immediately  entered  upon,  and  have  continued  to  exercise  to  the 
present  moment. 

I  found  also  on  my  arrival  at  this  place  some  three  or  four  days 
since.  Commodore  Stockton  still  exercising  the  functions  of  Civil 
and  Military  Governor  with  the  same  apparent  deference  to  his  rank 
on  the  part  of  all  officers,  (including  yourself)  as  he  maintained  and 
required  when  he  assumed  in  July  last. 

I  learned  also  in  conversation  with  you,  that  on  the  march  from 
San  Diego  recently  to  this  place  you  entered  upon  &  discharged 


duties  implying  an  acknowledgement  on  your  part  of  supremacy,  to 
Commodore  Stockton.^ 

I  feel  myself  therefore  with  great  deference  to  your  professional  & 
personal  character  constrained  to  say,  that,  until  you  &  Commodore 
Stockton  adjust  between  yourselves  the  question  of  rank,  where  I 
respectfully  think  the  difficulty  belongs,  I  shall  have  to  report  and 
receive  orders  as  heretofore  from  the  Commodore.  With  considera- 
tion of  high  regard  I  am  Your  Obedt.  Servt., 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Lt.  Col  U.  S.  Army  and  Military  Commandant  of  the  Territory  of 


Brig.  Genl.  S.  W.  Kearny 
U.S.  Army 

LS,  enclosure  2  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR,  K-217 
1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Endorsed:  "Refuses  to  comply  with  orders  of  the 
War  Department."  This  is  one  of  many  documents  submitted  by  Kearny  to 
support  the  charges  and  specifications  against  JCF,  which  had  accompanied 
his  11  Sept.  letter.  From  California  the  general  had  already  sent  to  Washing- 
ton three  copies  of  JCF's  "insubordinate"  letter. 

JCF  personally  delivered  the  letter.  He  had  gone  to  Kearny's  quarters  at 
the  general's  request,  and  while  there  Kit  Carson  brought  the  letter,  it  having 
been  left  with  Talbot  to  copy  (ct.  martial,  38,  76,  228).  JCF  signed  it  and 
gave  it  to  Kearny.  According  to  his  testimony  later,  Kearny  advised  JCF  to 
take  the  letter  back  and  destroy  it  and  he  would  forget  it.  JCF  refused  and 
noted  that  Stockton  would  support  him.  "I  told  him,"  Kearny  testified, 
"that  Commodore  Stockton  could  not  support  him  in  disobeying  the  orders 
of  his  senior  officer  and  that,  if  he  persisted  in  it,  he  would  unquestionably 
ruin  himself.  He  told  me  that  Commodore  Stockton  was  about  organizing  a 
civil  government  and  intended  to  appoint  him  as  governor  of  the  territory.  I 
told  him  Commodore  Stockton  had  no  such  authority,  that  authority  having 
been  conferred  on  me  by  the  President  of  the  United  States.  He  asked  me  if  I 
would  appoint  him  governor.  I  told  him  I  expected  shortly  to  leave  California 
for  Missouri;  that  I  had,  previous  to  leaving  Santa  Fe,  asked  for  permission 
to  do  so,  and  was  in  hopes  of  receiving  it;  that  as  soon  as  the  country  was 
quieted  I  should,  most  probably  organize  a  civil  government  in  California, 
and  that  I,  at  that  time,  knew  of  no  objections  to  my  appointing  him  as  the 
governor.  He  then  stated  to  me  that  he  would  see  Commodore  Stockton, 
and  that,  unless  he  appointed  him  governor  at  once,  he  would  not  obey  his 
orders,  and  left  me"  (ct.  martial,  39). 

This  attempt  to  depict  JCF  as  bargaining  for  the  governorship  is  not  very 
convincing.  If  the  testimonies  of  Stockton  and  Russell  are  to  be  credited,  all 
the  forms  bestowing  the  governorship  on  JCF  had  been  completed  the  day 
before  and  the  commission  bears  the  date  16  Jan.,  while  the  appointment  it- 
self had  been  promised  by  Stockton  six  months  earlier  (see  Doc.  No.  56). 
Furthermore,  if  there  was  still  a  possibility  of  JCF  obeying  his  orders  and 
becoming  Kearny's  appointee,  why   did   Kearny  leave  Los   Angeles   for  San 


Diego  the  next  morning  (18  Jan.)  without  informing  JCF  that  he  was  going 
or  where  he  was  going  (ct.  martial,  87)?  However,  it  must  be  noted  that 
JCF  makes  no  mention  in  his  letter  to  Kearny  of  having  received  his  commis- 
sion as  governor  from  Stockton.  But  perhaps  that  is  only  natural,  since 
Kearny's  order  to  him  of  16  Jan.  had  dealt  only  with  the  question  of  military 

There  seems  to  have  been  a  real  question  in  Kearny's  mind  about  his 
supreme  authority  in  California.  In  writing  to  his  wife  about  the  "blow-out" 
between  Commodore  Stockton  and  Kearny,  Turner  noted,  "Kearny  is  noth- 
ing but  will  remain  in  the  country  until  the  action  of  the  President  is  re- 
ceived, with  respect  to  the  extraordinary  behavior  of  Stockton  and  Fremont" 
(Turner  to  Julia  Turner,  30  Jan.  1847,  turner,  149-50). 

On  being  cross-examined  by  the  defense  at  the  court-martial,  Kearny  ad- 
mitted that  about  a  week  after  receiving  this  17  Jan.  letter  of  JCF's,  he 
decided  he  would  arrest  JCF,  but  he  did  not  communicate  this  fact  to  him 
(or  to  Benton,  to  whom  he  wrote  in  March  and  May)  until  the  time  of  the 
actual  arrest  on  22  Aug.  at  Fort  Leavenworth  (R.  Jones  to  Benton,  24  Aug. 
1847,  Doc.  No.  209;  ct.  martial,  41). 

1.  See  Doc.  No.  113. 

2.  See  Doc.  No.  61. 

3.  These  duties,  which  implied  Kearny's  acceptance  of  Stockton  as  the 
supreme  official  in  California,  were  enumerated  by  JCF  in  a  letter  to  Benton, 
3  Feb.  1847,  and  again  at  his  court-martial  (see  Doc.  No.  131  and  ct. 
MARTIAL,  438-39). 

4.  In  a  biography  of  Kearny,  Clarke  implies  that  since  JCF  had  elected  to 
continue  service  under  Stockton,  a  more  appropriate  title  following  the  sig- 
nature would  have  been  "Major  in  the  Naval  battalion"  (clarke,  258). 

117.  Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Robert  F.  Stockton 

Hd  Qrs.  Army  of  the  West 


January  17.  1847 

In  my  communication  to  you  of  yesterday's  date,  I  stated  that  I 
had  learned  that  you  were  engaged  in  organizing  a  civil  government 
for  California.  I  referred  you  to  the  Presdts.  instructions  to  me  (the 
original  of  which  you  had  seen  and  copies  of  which  I  furnished 
you)  to  perform  that  duty  and  I  added  that  if  you  had  any  authority 
from  the  Presdt.  or  any  of  his  organs  for  what  you  were  doing,  I 
would  cheerfully  acquiesce  &  if  you  have  not  such  authority,  I  de- 
manded that  you  cease  further  proceedings  in  the  matter!  Your 
reply  of  the  same  date  refers  me  to  a  conversation  held  at  San  Diego 


&  adds  that  you  "cannot  do  anything,  nor  desist  from  anything  nor 
alter  anything  on  your  (my)  demand." 

As,  (in  consequence  of  the  defeat  of  the  army  on  the  8th  &  9th 
Inst,  by  the  troops  under  my  command,  &  the  capitulation  entered 
into  on  the  13th  inst.  by  Lieut.  Col.  Fremont  with  the  leaders  of  the 
Californians,  in  which  the  people  under  arms  &  in  the  field  agreed 
to  disperse  &  remain  quiet  and  peaceable,)  the  country  may  now  for 
the  first  time  be  considered  as  conquered  &  taken  possession  of  by  us, 
and  as  I  am  prepared  to  carry  out  the  President's  instructions  to  me 
which  you  oppose,  I  must  for  the  purpose  of  preventing  collision  be- 
tween us  &  possibly  a  civil  war  in  consequence  of  it,  remain  silent 
for  the  present,  leaving  with  you  the  great  responsibility  of  doing 
that  for  which  you  have  no  authority  &  preventing  me  from  comply- 
ing with  the  Presdt's  orders.  Very  Respectfully  Yr.  Obt.  Servt. 

(Signed)  S.  W.  Kearny,  Brig  Genl. 
Com.  R.  F.  Stockton 
U.S.  Navy 
Actg.  Gov.  of  Califa. 

Copy  of  enclosure  E-4  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  30  Jan.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-120  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Endorsed.  On  the  same  day  Kearny  sent  a 
short  note  to  Stockton,  whom  he  addressed  as  "acting  Governor  of  Cali- 
fornia," informing  him  of  his  intention  to  leave  Los  Angeles  the  next  day 
with  the  small  party  which  had  escorted  him  to  California  (ct.  martial, 
195).  He  went  to  San  Diego  and  on  31  Jan.  sailed  for  Monterey. 

Naval  officer  McLane's  opinion  of  the  three  senior  officers  at  Los  Angeles 
was  not  very  high.  Stockton,  "unscrupulous  &  energetic,"  had  played  a  "grab" 
game;  JCF  was  an  "ambitious  Ass,  and  entirely  wanting  in  Military  Knowl- 
edge &  feeling,  though  persevering  &  cunning";  and  Kearny,  who  he  felt  was 
"repressed"  by  his  defeat  at  San  Pasqual,  had  shown  "great  want  of  moral 
courage  &  unfitness  for  command"  (mc  lane,  104-5). 

118.  Fremont  to  William  A.  T.  Maddox 

El  Pueblo  de  Los  Angeles 
January  17,  1847 

You  will  comply  on  the  part  of  the  United  States  with  the  article  in 
the  capitulation  made  with  the  Californians  on  the  13th  instant,  also 
with  the  additional  articles  of  the  16th. 


For  the  benefit  of  all  the  military  commanders  north  of  this  place, 
I  send  by  the  bearer,  Don  Joaquin  de  la  Tore,^  a  correct  copy  of  the 
above  mentioned  capitulation. 

You  will  please  transmit  this  information  to  all  United  States  offi- 
cers in  command  of  posts  and  forces  to  the  north.  Very  respectfully, 
your  obedient  servant, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Lieutenant  Colonel  U.  S.  Army 
Capt.  W.  Maddox 
Military  Com'dt.  of  Middle  Dep't  of  California 

Printed  in  appendix  to  Senator  Benton's  speech  opposing  the  nomination 
of  Brigadier  General  Kearny  for  major  general,  Washington  Daily  Union, 
10  Oct.  1848. 

1.  Joaquin  de  la  Torre  (ca.  1812-55)  had  commanded  the  Californians  in 
the  skirmish  at  Olompali  and  had  fought  in  the  Natividad  campaign 
(pioneer  register). 

119.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

Head  Quarters 


January  19th.  1847 

In  answ^er  to  your  enquiries  in  regard  to  the  Salaries  of  the  differ- 
ent officers  of  the  Government  of  California,  I  enclose  to  you  a  letter 
from  Mr.  Larkin,^  whose  experience  in  the  Country  had  better  be 
your  guide  in  relation  to  that  matter  until  you  hear  from  the  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States."  Faithfully,  Yr.  obdt.  servt., 

R.  F.  Stockton 
To  His  Excellency 
J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  of  the  Territory  of  California 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Entry  395  [E-20-A],  Letterbook  of  Robert  F.  Stockton, 

1.  Larkin's  letter  not  found. 

2.  On  this  day  Stockton  left  for  San  Diego  with  a  small  escort.  Soon  after 


his  departure  the  California   Battalion  was  paraded,  and   Russell   read   pub- 
licly JCF's  appointment  as  governor  of  California  and  his  own  as  secretary 

of  state  (BRYANT,  414). 

120.  Fremont  to  Abel  Stearns  et  at. 


Jany  21st  1847 
To  Messrs. 

D.  Abel  Stearns 

E.  Celis' 

C.  W.  Fliigge 

You  are  hereby  commissioned  and  authorized  by  me,  as  Governor 
of  California,  to  institute  and  enquire  at  your  earliest  convenience 
into  the  losses  of  property,  whether  effected  by  thefts  on  the  part  of 
the  soldiers  or  breakages  by  the  improper  violence  of  the  men,  or  by 
any  other  means  sustained,  on  the  part  of  the  citizens,  of  the  port  of 
San  Pedro,  and  of  the  Ciudad  de  los  Angeles,  and  its  vicinity,  whilst 
the  same  were  in  possession  of  the  troops  of  the  United  States 
whether  under  command  of  Commodore  Stockton,  Genl.  Kearny  or 
myself,  and  make  report  of  the  same  with  every  particular  to  me." 

Your  acceptance  of  this  commission  will  be  so  considered  by  me 
unless  notified  to  the  contrary.  Very  respectfully  Your  Obt.  Servant, 

J,  C.  Fremont, 

Governor  &  Commander  in  Chief  of  California 

LS,  RC  (CSmH).  It  has  already  been  noted  that  at  the  time  of  the  Ameri- 
can conquest,  Abel  Stearns  (1798-1871)  was  a  confidant  of  Larkin's  and  a 
most  influential  citizen  of  Los  Angeles.  He  was  probably  also  the  wealthiest 
man  in  all  of  California.  Born  in  Massachusetts,  he  had  emigrated  to  Mexico 
about  1826  and  settled  in  Los  Angeles  in  1833  as  a  trader  in  hides,  tallow,  and 
liquor.  In  1840  he  married  Arcadia  Bandini,  daughter  of  Juan  Bandini, 
and  over  the  next  few  years  gradually  expanded  his  land  and  cattle  holdings 
and  built  an  imposing  residence  named  El  Palacio.  For  an  excellent  sketch 
of  Stearns's  activities  to  1848,  see  wric;ht. 

1.  Eulogio  de  Celis  (d.  1868)  had  come  to  California  in  1836  as  an  em- 
ployee of  the  Acapulco  merchant  Henry  Virmond,  a  transplanted  German. 
He  made  Los  Angeles  his  home  until  1853,  becoming  a  businessman  and 
landowner.  See  Doc.  No.  231   for  the  cattle  contract  he  made  with  JCF. 

2.  Many  of  the  claims  submitted  to  the  commission  are  in  the  Stearns 
Papers  at  the  CSmH,  but  others  are  scattered  in  various  collections,  including 
the  T.  W.  Norris  Collection  at  the  CU-B.  The  approved  claims  were  signed 
by  JCF  as  well  as  the  three  commission  members,  wright,  230,  notes  that  at 
least  two  summaries  of  the  claims  were  compiled.  One,  dated  12  April  1847, 
contained  the  names  of  forty-two  individuals  and  totaled  more  than  $5,295; 
the  other,  dated  29  April,  bore  twelve  names  and  a  total  of  more  than  $22,077. 
Stearns  was  on  the  second  list  with  a  claim  of  $4,605.50. 

121.  Fremont  to  Felipe  Lugo  et  at. 


21st  Jany.  1847 

Don  Felipe  Lugo 

Don  Macedonio  Aguilar 

Don  Thomas  Sanchez 

You  are  hereby  appointed  by  me  as  Governor  of  California  a 
board  of  survey  to  ascertain  the  number  of  cattle  killed,  and  to 
whom  they  belonged,  by  the  U.  S.  Forces  under  the  command  of 
Commodore  Stockton  &  Genl.  Kearney,  and  report  the  same  with 
all  needful  particulars  to  me  at  your  earliest  convenience. 

Your  acceptance  of  this  commission  will  be  considered  a  matter  of 
course  unless  you  instruct  me  to  the  contrary.  Very  Respectfully, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  &  Commander-in-Chief  of  California 

Wm.  H.  Russell 
Secy,  of  State 

LS,  RC  (Los  Angeles  County  Museum  of  Natural  History).  In  Los 
Angeles  at  one  time  or  another,  Felipe  Lugo  (b.  ca.  1808)  had  been  'luez, 
Macedonio  Aguilar  (b.  ca.  1809)  ]uez  de  campo,  and  Tomas  Sanchez  (1802- 
82)  collector  of  taxes.  After  the  American  occupation  Lugo  became  a  justice 
of  the  peace  and  a  supervisor,  residing  at  La  Mesa.  Aguilar  acquired  that 
portion  of  Rancho  La  Ballona,  or  Wagon  Pass,  out  of  which  present-day 
Palms  was  carved.  Sanchez  was  sherif?  of  Los  Angeles  County  from  1859  to 
1867  (pioneer  register;  rolle  [2],  155). 


122.  Fremont's  Circular 

[Los  Angeles] 
[22  Jan.  1847] 

The  peace  of  the  country  being  restored,  and  future  tranquillity 
vouchsafed  by  a  treaty  made  and  entered  into  by  Commissioners  re- 
spectively appointed  by  the  properly  authorized  California  Officers 
on  the  one  hand,  and  by  myself,  as  Military  Commandant  of  the 
United  States  Forces  in  the  District  of  California,  on  the  other,  by 
which  a  civil  government  is  to  take  place  of  the  Military,  an  ex- 
change of  all  prisoners,  &c.  &c.  forthwith  ensure  to  the  end  that  or- 
der and  a  wholesome  civil  police  should  obtain  throughout  the  land. 
A  copy  of  which  said  treaty  will  be  immediately  published  in  the 
Californian  newspaper,  published  at  Monterey. 

Therefore,  in  virtue  of  the  aforesaid  treaty,  as  well  as  the  functions 
that  in  me  rest  as  Civil  Governor  of  California,  I  do  hereby  proclaim 
order  and  peace  restored  to  the  country,  and  require  the  immediate 
release  of  all  prisoners,  the  return  of  the  civil  officers  to  their  appro- 
priate duties,  and  as  strict  an  obedience  of  the  Military  to  the  civil 
authority  as  is  consistent  with  the  security  of  peace,  and  the  mainte- 
nance of  good  order  when  troops  are  garrisoned. 

Done  at  the  Capitol  of  the  Territory  of  California,  temporarily 
seated  at  the  Ciudad  de  los  Angeles,  this  22d  day  of  January,  A.  D. 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  and  Commander-in-Chief  of  California 

Witness:  W.  H.  Russell,  Secretary  of  State. 

Printed  in  the  Monterey  Californian,  6  Feb.  1847.  The  same  issue  carries 
a  Spanish  translation.  The  California  Star  (San  Francisco),  6  Feb.  1847, 
gives  a  slightly  different  version  in  English  and  Spanish. 


123.   Fremont  to  Mariano  G.  Vallejo 

Angeles  Jan  22d.  1847 


I  have  the  honor  to  transmit  you  the  Commission  of  a  Member  of 
a  council  of  State,  intended  to  exercise  the  functions  of  a  legislative 
body,  in  the  Territorial  Government  of  California. 

Your  great  influence  in  the  country  with  the  high  respect  and  re- 
gard entertained  for  your  person  by  the  Californians  will  render 
your  services  of  great  value  in  tranquillizing  the  people  and  effect- 
ing the  restoration  of  order  and  civil  Government. 

I  shall  feel  great  pleasure  in  being  associated  with  you  in  the  ac- 
complishment of  these  objects  and  trust  that  it  will  not  be  incom- 
patible with  your  private  engagements  to  accept  the  post  offered 

The  bearer,  Mr.  Knight  has  always  shown  attachment  to  your 
family  and  a  disposition  to  avert  from  the  Californians  the  bad  con- 
sequences of  the  Movement  in  which  they  were  recently  engaged.  I 
can  therefore  with  some  propriety  recommend  him  to  your  friendly 

With  Sentiments  of  respect  and  consideration,  I  am  Sir,  Your  Obt. 

J.  C.  Fremont, 
Governor  &  Commander  in  Chief  of  California 

Genl.  Guadaloupe  Vallejo 

LS,  RC  (CU-B).  Addressed.  In  addition  to  Vallejo,  the  new  councillors 
were  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin,  Juan  Bandini,  Santiago  Argiiello,  Jr.  ("the 
2nd,"  as  Larkin  expresses  it),  Juan  B.  Alvarado,  David  Spence,  and  EHab 
Grimes  (Larkin  to  Mariano  G.  Vallejo,  22  Jan.  1847,  larkin,  6:16-17). 
Vallejo's  appointment  was  made  by  Stockton,  and  JCF  merely  forwarded  the 
commission.  For  Vallejo's  acceptance,  see  Doc.  No.  142. 

The  council  was  to  convene  at  Los  Angeles  on  1  March,  but  no  meeting 
was  ever  held.  Gillespie  placed  the  blame  to  some  extent  on  Larkin,  writing 
that  if  he  had  shown  a  willingness,  all  the  councillors  would  have  come.  But 
Larkin  wrote  Stockton  that  even  though  the  commodore  had  sent  the  Cyane 
to  transport  the  commissioners  from  the  northern  part  of  California,  Com- 
modore Shubrick  had  prevented  her  return.  "The  members  could  not  go  by 
land  and  reach  in  time.  .  .  .  They  also  objected  moving  in  the  business  until 
your  despatches  by  Mr.  Norris  should  reach  you  as  they  said  there  were  naval 
and  military  officers  on  the  coast,  who  could  annuU  anything  you  or  Colonel 


Fremont  might  do.  .  .  .  Had  we  endeavoured  to  open  the  cession  I  think 
we  should  have  been  prevented"  (Gillespie  to  Larkin,  1  April  1847,  and 
Larkin  to  Stockton,  13  April  1847,  larkin,  6:82-83,  100-101). 

124.  John  Grigsby  to  Fremont 

City  of  Angels  Jan.  22ncl  47 


A  period  having  arrived  in  my  opinion  my  services  may  be  dis- 
pensed with  I  have  thought  proper  to,  and  do  hereby  tender  to  your 
Excellency  my  resignation  of  the  office  of  Captain  of  Company  E.  of 
the  California  Regiment,  which  office  I  have  had  the  honor  to  hold 
during  the  last  three  months,  and  which  resignation  I  hope  your  ex- 
cellency will  have  the  goodness  to  accept. 

I  have  the  honor  to  remain  Sir,  your  obt.  &  humble  servt. 

John  Grigsby 
Commanding  Company  E.  of  the  Cal,  Regiment 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  &  Commander  in  Chief  of  the  Military  Force  in  California 

ALS,  RC  (CSmH). 

125.   Fremont  to  Pierson  B.  Reading 

El  Pueblo  de  los  Angeles 
January  23rd.  1847 

In  the  absence  of  funds  in  your  department,  you  are  authorized  to 
issue  due  bills,  in  making  settlements  with  such  Troops  as  shall  be 
discharged  from  the  service.  Respectfully,  etc. 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Lt.  Col.  Commdg.  Battn.  and  Govr.  of  California 

LS,  RC  (C). 


126.   Fremont  to  Pierson  B.  Reading 

Head  Qrs.  California  Battn. 


Jany.  23d.  1847 
To  Major  P.  B.  Reading 
Paymaster  of  California  Battalion 

In  consequence  of  there  being  no  defined  arrangements  in  the 
Army  Regulations  for  the  rank  or  pay  of  an  Ordnance  Officer  in  a 
command  corresponding  to  my  own,  I  hereby  direct  you  to  settle 
with  W.  H.  Russell  who  discharged  the  duties  of  Ordnance  Officer, 
as  Captain,  entitled  to  full  pay  as  Commandant  of  a  Company, 
which  commission  he  holds  under  me  and  to  compute  his  pay  from 
the  8th  of  Oct.  1846  to  21st  Jany.  1847  the  date  of  his  resignation. 

J.  C.  Fremont, 
Lt.  Col.  U  S  A  &  Commandr.  in  Chief  of  California 

LS,  RC  (CSmH). 

127.  Fremont  to  Juan  Bandini 


Executive  Department 
23d  Jany.  1847 

Juan  Bandini 

The  civil  department  of  the  government  of  California  being  now 
in  full  operation,  and  cherishing  an  anxious  desire  that  the  vacant 
offices  of  Alcalde  and  other  municipal  Stations  be  filled  by  proper 
and  suitable  incumbents,  and  in  a  manner  most  acceptable  to  the 
citizens  of  the  Territory;  and  reposing  entire  confidence  in  your  ca- 
pacity and  friendly  disposition  to  aid  me  by  suggestion  and  useful 


I  respectfully  invite  you  to  meet  me  in  the  Executive  Council 
room  on  Tuesday  the  26th  instant  to  confer  on  those  various  sub- 
jects. Very  Respectfully  Your  Obt.  Servt. 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  &  Commdr.  in  Chief  of  the  Territory  of  California 

LS,  RC  (CSmH).  A  few  days  before  JCF  wrote  this  invitation,  Stockton 
had  named  Bandini  to  the  legislative  council. 

128.  Fremont  to  John  Temple 

[Los  Angeles] 
[25  Jan.  1847] 

Received  of  Mr.  John  Temple  the  sum  of  fifteen  hundred  dollars 
in  cash  for  the  use  of  the  United  States,  for  which  sum  I  promise  (in 
the  name  of  the  United  States  as  Governor  of  California)  to  pay  two 
per  cent,  per  month  until  paid,  said  percentage  being  customary  in 
this  Territory. 

Angeles  Capital  of  California  Jany.  25th  1847 

(Signed)  J.  C.  Fremont 
Govr.  of  California 

I  certify  the  above  to  be  a  true  copy  of  the  original  which  I  this  day 
saw  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  Temple. 

Los  Angeles  California  A.  J.  Smith^ 

May  13th  1847  1st  Drag. 

Copy  of  enclosure  18  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-217  1847,  f/wK-209  1846). 

1.  Capt.  Andrew  Jackson  Smith  (1815-97)  of  the  1st  Dragoons  had  come 
to  California  with  the  Mormon  Battalion. 


129.   Fremont  to  John  K.  Wilson 

Angeles,  Jany.  25th  1847 

Capt.  J.  K.  Wilson 
Light  Artillery 

You  are  hereby  authorized  and  directed  to  raise  a  company  of  men 
to  constitute  the  second  company  of  Artillery  in  the  California  Ser- 
vice, and  for  that  purpose  are  detached  from  your  present  command. 

You  will  please  report  the  number  you  may  be  able  to  enlist,  with 
as  little  delay  as  possible. 

You  are  authorized  to  enlist  the  men  for  3  months  and  to  promise 
them  as  compensation  twenty  five  dollars  per  month.  Respectfully, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Lt.  Col  Commanding  California  Forces  in  the  United  States 


Copy  of  enclosure  4  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-217  1847,  £/w  K-209  1846).  John  K.  Wilson  was  a  midshipman  on  the 


130.  John  B.  Montgomery  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Ship  Portsmouth,  San  Diego,  Jan.  26.  1847 

Under  the  pressure  of  your  many  and  important  engagements  at 
this  moment,  I  should  not  now  call  your  attention  to  the  subject  of 
this  communication,  but  for  the  possibilities  that  another  opportu- 
nity may  not  be  presented. 

Will  you  therefore  do  me  the  favor  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of 
two  rolls  which  I  forwarded  to  you  by  water  from  San  Francisco  to 
Monterey  in  Octo.  or  Novr.  last  ex[h]ibiting  a  statement  of  clothing 
&c.  issued  from  the  Purser's  stores  of  the  U,  S.  Ship  Portsmouth  under 
my  command,  to  a  number  of  volunteers  while  on  their  way  to  join 
your  command  at  the  latter  place,  stating  if  you  please  the  ag[g]re- 


gate  amt.  of  said  issues  as  set  forth  in  the  rolls — to  be  deducted  from 
the  pay  accts.  of  the  Volunteers,  respectively,  on  final  settlement  with 

Purser  Watmough  will  forward  your  account  for  the  same  made 
in  the  required  form — with  a  receipt  annexed — which  I  will  thank 
you  to  sign  which  [will]  be  used  as  a  voucher  in  settlement  with 
Navy  Department.  I  have  the  Honor  to  be  Sir,  Your  Obt.  Servt., 

Jno.  B.  Montgomery 
Commander  U.  S.  S.  P. 
To  his  Excely.  J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  of  California  at  the  Pueblo  de  los  Angeles 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  no.  22.  Officers'  Letters,  Letterbooks  of  J.  B.  Montgomery). 

131.  Fremont  to  Thomas  H.  Benton 

[Los  Angeles] 
[3  Feb.  1847] 

•  •  •  • 

Knowing  well  the  views  of  the  cabinet,  and  satisfied  that  it  was  a 
great  national  measure  to  unite  California  to  us  as  a  sister  State,  by  a 
voluntary  expression  of  the  popular  will,  I  had  in  all  my  marches 
through  the  country,  and  in  all  my  intercourse  with  the  people  acted 
invariably  in  strict  accordance  with  this  impression,  to  which  I  was 
naturally  farther  led  by  my  own  feelings.  I  had  kept  my  troops  under 
steady  restraint  and  discipline,  and  never  permitted  to  them  a  wan- 
ton outrage,  or  any  avoidable  destruction  of  property  or  life.  The 
result  has  clearlv  shown  the  wisdom  of  the  course  I  have  pur- 
sued. .  .  } 

When  I  entered  Los  Angeles  I  was  ignorant  of  the  relations  sub- 
sisting between  these  gentlemen  [Stockton  and  Kearny],  having  re- 
ceived from  neither  any  order  or  information  which  might  serve  as 
a  guide  in  the  circumstances.  I  therefore,  immediately  on  my  arrival, 
waited  upon  the  governor  and  commander-in-chief.  Commodore 
Stockton ;  and,  a  few  minutes  afterwards,  called  upon  General  Kear- 
ney. I  soon  found  them  occupying  a  hostile  attitude,  and  each  deny- 


ing  the  right  of  the  other  to  assume  the  direction  of  affairs  in  this 

The  ground  assumed  by  General  Kearney  was,  that  he  held  in  his 
hand  plenary  instructions  from  the  President  directing  him  to  con- 
quer California,  and  organize  a  civil  government,  and  that  conse- 
quently he  would  not  recognize  the  acts  of  Commodore  Stockton. 

The  latter  maintained  that  his  own  instructions  were  to  the  same 
effect  as  Kearney's;  that  this  officer's  commission  was  obsolete,  and 
never  would  have  been  given  could  the  government  have  anticipated 
that  the  entire  country,  seaboard  and  interior,  would  have  been  con- 
quered and  held  by  himself.  The  country  had  been  conquered  and  a 
civil  government  instituted  since  September  last,  the  constitution  of 
the  territory,  and  appointments  under  the  constitution,  had  been 
sent  to  the  government  for  its  approval,  and  decisive  action  undoubt- 
edly long  since  had  upon  them.  General  Kearney  was  instructed  to 
conquer  the  country,  and  upon  its  threshold  his  command  had  been 
nearly  cut  to  pieces,  and,  but  for  the  relief  from  him  (Commodore 
Stockton)  would  have  been  destroyed.  More  men  were  lost  than  in 
General  Taylor's  battle  of  the  8th.  In  regard  to  the  remaining  part  of 
his  instructions,  how  could  he  organize  a  government  without  first 
proceeding  to  disorganize  the  present  one?  His  work  had  been  an- 
ticipated ;  his  commission  was  absolutely  void,  null,  and  of  no  effect. 

But  if  General  Kearney  believed  that  his  instructions  gave  him 
paramount  authority  in  the  country,  he  made  a  fatal  error  on  his 
arrival.  He  was  received  with  kindness  and  distinction  by  the  com- 
modore, and  offered  by  him  the  command  of  his  land  forces.  Gen- 
eral Kearney  rejected  the  offer,  and  declined  interfering  with  Com- 
modore Stockton.  This  officer  was  then  preparing  for  a  march  to 
Ciudad  de  los  Angeles,  his  force  being  principally  sailors  and  ma- 
rines, who  were  all  on  foot  (fortunately  for  them),  and  who  were  to 
be  provided  with  supplies  on  their  march  through  an  enemy's  coun- 
try where  all  the  people  are  cavalrv.  His  force  was  paraded,  and 
ready  to  start,  700  in  number,  supported  by  six  pieces  of  artillery. 
The  command,  under  General  Stockton,  had  been  conferred  upon 
his  first  lieutenant,  Mr.  Rowan."  At  this  juncture  General  Kearney 
expressed  to  Commodore  Stockton  his  expectation  that  the  com- 
mand would  have  been  given  to  him.  The  commodore  informed  the 
general  that  Lieutenant  Rowan  was  in  his  usual  line  of  duty,  as  on 
board  ship,  relieving  him  of  the  detail  and  drudgery  of  the  camp, 


while  he  himself  remained  the  commander-in-chief;  that  if  General 
Kearney  was  willing  to  accept  Mr.  Rowan's  place,  under  these  cir- 
cumstances, he  could  have  it.  The  general  assented.  Commodore 
Stockton  called  up  his  officers  and  explained  the  case.  Mr.  Rowan 
gave  up  his  post  generously  and  without  hesitation;  and  Commo- 
dore Stockton  desired  them  clearly  to  understand  that  he  remained 
the  commander-in-chief;  under  this  arrangement  the  whole  force 
entered  Angeles ;  and  on  the  day  of  my  arrival  at  that  place  General 
Kearney  told  me  that  he  did  then,  at  that  moment,  recognize  Com- 
modore Stockton  as  governor  of  the  territory. 

You  are  aware  that  I  had  contracted  relations  with  Commodore 
Stockton,  and  I  thought  it  neither  right  nor  politically  honorable  to 
withdraw  my  support.  No  reason  of  interest  shall  ever  compel  me  to 
act  towards  any  man  in  such  a  way  that  I  should  afterwards  be 
ashamed  to  meet  him.  .  .  .^ 

Both  offered  me  the  commission  and  post  of  governor;  Commo- 
dore Stockton  to  redeem  his  pledge  to  that  effect,  immediately,  and 
General  Kearny  offering  to  give  the  commission  in  four  or  six 
weeks.  .  .  .^ 

I  was  named  Governor,  and  immediately  proclaimed  peace  and 
order  restored  to  the  country;  and,  like  the  waters  of  some  small 
lake  over  which  a  sudden  storm  had  passed,  it  subsided  instantly  into 
perfect  tranquility,  from  one  extremity  to  the  other.  A  Californian 
gentleman,  Don  Pedro  Carillo,  arrived  yesterday  evening  from  Santa 
Barbara,  and  told  me  that  he  heard  a  group  of  boys  in  the  street 
singing  to  their  guitar 

"Vivan  los  Estados  Unidos 
Y  viva  el  Coronel  Fremont, 
Quien  nos  ha  aseguardo  las  vidas." 

"Long  live  the  United  States 
And  long  live  Colonel  Fremont, 
Who  has  secured  to  us  our  lives.""'' 

Throughout  the  Californian  population,  there  is  only  one  feeling 
of  satisfaction  and  gratitude  to  myself.  The  men  of  the  country,  most 
forward  and  able  in  the  revolution  against  us,  now  put  themselves  at 
my  disposition,  and  say  to  me,  'Viva  usted  seguro,  duerme  usted 
seguro,'  (live  safe,  sleep  safe,)   'we  ourselves  will  watch  over  the 


tranquility  of  the  country,  and  nothing  can  happen  which  shall  not 
be  known  to  you.'^  The  unavailing  dissatisfaction  on  the  part  of 
( )  own  people,  was  easily  repressed,  the  treaty  was  ratified/ 

The  incomplete  letter  printed  here  has  been  pieced  together  by  the  editors 
from  various  sources,  and  there  is  no  assurance  that  the  proper  sequence  has 
been  divined.  Before  the  military  court  JCF  said  he  would  have  been  willing 
to  read  his  3  Feb.  1847  letter  to  Benton  to  the  court  as  his  sole  defense  had 
it  not  been  for  the  treatment  he  had  received,  "the  secret  purpose  to  arrest," 
and  the  various  publications  against  him.  He  said  that  the  letter  was  received 
by  Benton  in  May  at  St.  Louis  and  was  sent  to  President  Polk,  "whose  en- 
dorsement is  on  the  back,  in  his  own  hand  writing,  stating  it  to  have  been 
received  from  Mr.  Christopher  Carson  on  the  8th  of  June"  (ct.  martial, 
379-80).  The  sources  from  which  the  letter  was  extracted  are  given  in  the 
notes  below. 

1.  Extract  printed  in  ct.  martial,  380. 

2.  Lieut.  Stephen  Clegg  Rowan  (1808-90),  formerly  of  the  Cyane,  served 
as  major  in  the  march  of  Stockton's  battalion  from  San  Diego  to  Los  Angeles, 
and  was  slightly  wounded  in  the  battle  of  the  Mesa.  He  remained  in  the  naval 
service,  becoming  commodore  in  1862;  he  was  on  the  retired  list  as  vice- 
admiral  in  1889. 

3.  Printed  in  bigelow,  197-98. 

4.  Extract  printed  in  ct.  martial,  393. 

5.  Extract  from  Benton's  speech  opposing  the  nomination  of  Brigadier 
General  Kearny  for  the  brevet  of  major  general,  Washington  Daily  Union, 
1  Sept.  1847. 

6.  In  his  Senate  speech  opposing  the  nomination  of  Kearny  for  the  brevet 
of  major  general,  Benton  included  the  Spanish  phrase  "Estan  preparados  los 
hijos  del  pais  para  softener  a  usted,"  which  he  translated  as  "The  children  of 
the  country  are  prepared  to  sustain  you." 

7.  Extract  printed  in  ct.  martial,  380. 

132.  William  Speiden  to  Fremont 

United  States  Ship  Congress, 
San  Diego,  February  4,  1847 

I  have  been  directed  by  Commodore  Stockton  to  furnish  you  with 
any  amount  of  funds  that  could  be  disposed  of  after  paying  the  bills 
of  the  Government  at  this  place,  and  I  regret  to  inform  you  that 
there  is  not  a  sufficient  sum  on  hand  to  liquidate  said  account. 


The  barque  Guypuzcouno  []6ven  Guipuzcoana]  is  daily  expected 
here  from  the  [Hawaiian]  Islands  with  money/  and  we  also  are  in 
expectation  of  the  arrival  of  the  Erie  from  Callao  with  funds,  and 
shall  be  pleased  to  attend  to  your  demands  so  soon  as  the  above  ex- 
pectations are  realized." 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  most  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

Wm.  Speiden 
Purser  United  States  Navy 
His  Excellency  J.  C.  Fremont, 
Governor  of  the  Territory  of  California 

Printed  in  National  hitelligencer,  6  Dec.  1847.  One  of  the  documents  pre- 
sented to  the  military  court  on  Friday,  3  Dec.  1847,  but  not  published  in  the 
official  report. 

1.  When  the  Joven  Guipuzcoatia  did  arrive  from  the  Hawaiian  Islands,  she 
had  but  half  the  funds  expected  (Archibald  H.  Gillespie  to  Thomas  Oliver 
Larkin,  15  March  1847,  larkin,  6:37).  However,  on  24  Feb.  1847  JCF  did 
receive  $6,500  at  San  Diego  from  purser  Speiden  (see  voucher.  Presidential 
Message  on  the  Accounts  of  John  C.  Fremont,  Senate  Exec.  Doc.  109,  p.  15, 
34th  Cong.,  1st  sess..  Serial  825). 

2.  In  addition  to  the  $9,000  obtained  from  Speiden— $2,500  in  Aug.  1846 
and  $6,500  in  Feb.  1847 — IGF  had  received  other  money  from  Navy  funds. 
Through  Gillespie,  he  had  been  paid  $10,850  in  1846  as  military  commandant 
of  California;  $4,000  as  major  commanding  U.S.  forces;  and  $4,195.40  plus 
$1,338.13  for  provisions  and  clothing  as  lieutenant  colonel,  U.S.  Army.  In 
all,  he  received  $29,383.53  through  Gillespie  and  Speiden  from  the  Navy 
Department  (see  A.  O.  Dayton,  Fourth  Auditor's  Office,  15  Aug.  1856,  to 
Secretary  of  Treasury,  Presidential  Message  on  the  Accounts  of  John  C. 
Fremont,  pp.  13-14). 

133.  Fremont  to  Antonio  Jose  Cot 

[Los  Angeles] 
[4  Feb.   18471 

I  the  undersigned  Governor  of  California,  for  the  United  States  of 
North  America,  acknowledge  that  I  have  received  from  Don  An- 
tonio Jose  Cot,  merchant  of  this  city,  Two  thousand  dollars  in  hard 
cash,  which  he  has  furnished  this  Government  for  the  public  service. 
And  I  bind  myself  in  the  name  of  the  United  States  Government  to 
return  the  said  sum  within  the  term  of  two  months  from  this  date, 


paying  for  interest  three  per  cent  per  month,  or  one  hundred  & 
twenty  dollars.  But  if  at  the  expiration  of  this  term  the  Government 
should  see  fit  still  to  make  use  of  these  two  thousand  dollars,  Mr.  Cot 
agrees  that  the  interest  shall  run  for  four  months  longer  at  2  per  cent 
per  month,  or  one  hundred  and  sixty  dollars  for  the  4  months.  And 
for  the  fulfillment  of  what  has  been  stipulated  I  bind  myself  as 
Governor  of  California. 
$2000  Angeles  4th  February  1847  J.  C.  Fremont 

I  have  furthermore  received  from  the  said  Mr.  Cot  the  sum  of  one 
thousand  dollars  in  the  terms  expressed  above. 
$1000  Angeles  20th  February  1847  J.  C.  Fremont 

I  have  received  from  Mr.  Fremont  the  sum  of  one  hundred  and 
eighty  dollars  for  the  interest  of  two  months  on  the  three  thousand 
dollars  mentioned  in  this  obligation,  Angeles  12th  April  1847 

Antonio  Jose  Cot 

A  copy  of  the  original 

(Signed)  Antonio  Jose  Cot 

Translated  copy  enclosed  in  R.  B.  Mason  to  R.  Jones,  21  June  1847  (DNA- 
94,  LR,  M-1113  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Antonio  Jose  Cot  (d.  ca.  1860),  a 
Spanish  trader  from  Lima,  had  been  the  resident  manager  in  Los  Angeles  of 
Mancisidor  and  Company.  Because  he  was  a  Spaniard  and  supposedly  un- 
friendly to  Mexican  interests,  he  was  ordered  out  of  California  in  the  late 
1820s,  but  he  returned  to  Los  Angeles  in  the  mid-1 830s  to  engage  in  com- 
merce. About  the  time  that  JCF  was  borrowing  money  from  him.  Cot  was 
purchasing  San  Luis  Rey. 

Because  of  his  feud  with  Kearny,  JCF  had  a  most  difficult  time  financing 
his  "government"  and  supplying  the  California  Battalion,  but  all  U.S. 
officials  in  California  lacked  money.  Lieut.  Col.  Philip  St.  George  Cooke, 
under  the  date  of  12  March,  expressed  the  situation  accurately  and  humor- 
ously: "Gen.  Kearny  is  supreme — somewhere  up  the  coast;  Col.  Fremont 
supreme  at  Pueblo  de  los  Angeles,  Commodore  Stockton  is  'commander-in- 
chief  at  S.  Diego; — Commodore  Shubrick,  the  same  at  Monterey;  and  I,  at 
San  Luis  Rey;  and  we  are  all  supremely  poor;  the  government  having  no 
money  and  no  credit;  and  we  hold  the  territory  because  Mexico  is  poorest  of 
all"  (cooKE,  283). 


134.  Theodore  Talbot  et  al.  to  Fremont 


4th  Feby.  1847 

His  Excellency, 
J.  C.  Fremont 
Govr.  of  California 

We  constituting  the  command  of  Adjt.  J.  T.  Talbot,  placed  by 
your  order  at  Santa  Barbara,  were  forced  by  an  attack  of  a  much 
superior  Californian  force,  to  abandon  the  town  with  all  the  little 
property  we  then  had  with  us,  of  which  the  subjoined  account  is  a 
true  &  faithful  schedule  which  under  the  circumstances  we  think 
ought  to  be  made  good  to  us  by  the  Govt.,  and  respectfully  petition 
your  Excellency,  to  approve  and  order  the  same  to  be  paid. 

J.  T.  Talbot  Charles  Scheiber  [Schreiber] 

F[rancis]  Briggs  Elijah  Moulton 

R.  E.  Russell  John  Stevens 

Thomas  E.  Breckenridge  William  Chenook  [Chinook] 

United  States  Dr. 

Qmr.  Dept. 

To  J.  Theodore  Talbot 

Oct.  3d.  To  1  saddle  complete  (2  pair  mochisns)  $40.00 

1  pair  Spurs— 6.00;  1  Bridle— 5.00  11.00 

9  Shirts  @  $3.  27.00 

1  Suit  of  Fine  Blue  Cloth  36.50 

2  pr.  pants  @  5.00  10.00 

1  pair  Bottas  12.00 

2  Blankets  @  8.00  16.00 


Received  of  Jacob  R.  Snyder^   Qr.  Master  California  Battalion, 
U.  States  Troops  the  sum  of  one  hundred  fifty  dollars  amount  of 
above  bill. 
Angeles,  Feb.  6,  1846  [1847]  J.  Theodore  Talbot 


United  States  Dr. 

QMr.  Dept. 

To  Robert  E.  Russell 

Oct.  3d.  To  1  Bridle  10.50 

1  pr.  of  spurs  5.00 

1  Blanket  7.50 

5  Calico  shirts  @  3.00  15.00 

1  pair  of  pants  10.00 

1  silk  handkf .  2.50 


Received  of  Jacob  R.  Snyder  Quartermaster,  California  Battalion 
the  sum  of  fifty-50/100  dollars  in  full. 

R.  E.  Russell 











United  States  Dr. 
Qmr.  Dept. 

To  Thos.  E.  Breckenridge 
Oct.  3d.  To  3f  yds  of  Blue  Cloth 
1  pr.  pants 

1  Blanket 

3  shirts  3.00 

2  Cotton  Hdkfs. 

1  Saddle  complete 
1  Bridle 
1  Spur 

Reed,  of  Jacob  R.  Snyder  Quartermaster,  California  Battalion,  the 
sum  of  $89.25/100  in  full. 

Thomas  E.  Breckenridge 

United  States  Dr. 

Qmr.  Dept. 

To  Francis  Briggs 

Oct.  3d.  To  1  saddle  complete  16.00 

1  Bridle  7.00 

1  pr.  Spurs  6.00 

1  pr.  pants  4.00 

2  Shirts  4.00 


1  Blanket  3.00 


Received  of  Jacob  R.  Snyder,  Quartermaster  of  California  Bat- 
talion the  sum  of  Forty  dollars  in  full  of  above  account. 

F.  Briggs 

Angeles,  March  9f?l  1847 

United  States  Dr. 

Qmr.  Dept. 

To  Charles  Screiber  [Schreiber] 

Oct.  3d.  To  Two  good  Blankets  SIO.OO 

2  Hickory  Shirts  6.00 
Shaving  apparatus  3.00 


Received  of  J.  R.  Snyder,  Quartermaster  of  California  Battalion 
U.  States  Forces  the  sum  of  nineteen  dollars  amount  of  above  bill, 
Angeles  Feb.  17th.  1847  Charles  Schreiber 

United  States  Dr. 
Qmr.  Dept. 

To  John  Stephens  [Stevens] 

Oct.  3d.  To  1  saddle  complete  $45.00 

1  Bridle  &  1  pr.  Spurs 

Received  of  Jacob  R.  Snyder  Quartermaster  of  California  Battalion 
U.  States  Forces  the  sum  of  45  dollars  amt.  of  above  bill. 
Angeles,  March  9th.  1847  John  Stevens 

United  States  Dr. 

Qmr.  Dept. 

To  E.  Moulton 

Oct.  3d.  To  1  Saddle  &  Bridle  $  8.00 

1  pr.  pants  3.00 

1  pr.  Drawers  2.00 

1  shirt  3.00 


Received  of  Jacob  R.  Snyder  Quartermaster  of  California  Bat- 


talion  U.  States  Forces,  the  sum  of  sixteen  dollars  amt.  of  above  bill 

Angeles,  March  9,  1847  E.    X    Moulton 


United  States  Dr. 

Qmr.  Dept. 

To  William  Chenook 


Oct.  3d.  To  1  Saddle  with  rigging  $20.00 

2  Blankets  8.00 
1  coat                                                                         10.00 

3  yds.  of  Blue  Cloth  18.00 
1  spurs  3.00 
1  pr.  drawers.  2.00 


Received  of  Jacob  R.  Snyder  Quartermaster  of  California  Battalion 
U.  S.  Troops  the  sum  of  Sixty  one  dollars  amount  of  above  bill. 

Angeles,  Apr.  18,  1847  William    X    Chenook 

Witness:  P.  B.  Reading 

The  above  accounts  are  accordingly  hereby  approved. 

J.  C.  Fremont, 
February  5th.  1847  Govr.  of  California 

DS  (DNA-92,  enclosed  in  ].  R.  Snyder  to  Col.  C.  F.  Smith,  25  Oct.  1853, 
Vouchers,  Receipts,  and  Other  Papers  Relating  to  the  Settlement  of  Claims, 
1847-48  [unarranged].  Microfilm  Roll  8).  The  letter  and  the  claims  are 
in  the  hand  of  Theodore  Talbot  and  are  typical  of  the  smaller  claims.  JCF 
had  also  placed  two  other  men  at  Santa  Barbara  with  Talbot — a  French 
Creole,  St.  Vrain  Durand,  and  a  "New  Mexican  Spaniard"  named  Manuel. 
Except  for  Schreiber,  Durand,  Moulton,  and  Manuel,  the  young  men  were  all 
about  twenty  years  of  age  (memoirs,  596;  Califor?jia  Claims,  Senate  Report 
75,  pp.  52-54,  30th  Cong.,  1st  sess..  Serial  512).  R.  Eugene  Russell  was  a  son 
of  William  H.  Russell,  JCF's  secretary  of  state.  William  Chinook  was  the 
Oregon  Indian  boy  whom  JCF  had  taken  east  when  he  returned  from  his 
1H43-44  expedition.  Under  the  name  of  William  Perkins  he  was  discharged 
on  16  June  1847  at  Johnson's  farm.  Upper  California.  Schreiber,  whose 
second  given  name  seems  to  have  been  Frederix,  was  an  1833  German  emigre 
and  a  friend  of  Ckorge  Engelmann  and  Gustave  Koerner.  After  his  service 
with   JCF,   he   became   a    farmer   in    St.   Clair   County,   111.    In    addition    to 


Schreiber,  Talbot,  Russell,  Breckenridge,  and  Chinook  had  all  been  members 
of  JCF's  third  expedition. 

1.  Born  in  Philadelphia,  Jacob  Rink  Snyder  (1812-78)  had  come  from 
Missouri  to  California  in  1845  and  with  several  others,  including  William 
Blackburn,  commenced  the  business  of  whip-sawing  lumber  and  making 
shingles  from  the  redwoods  near  Santa  Cruz — a  business  which  they  con- 
tinued until  the  outbreak  of  hostilities  between  the  Californians  and  Ameri- 
cans. Snyder  then  joined  JCF's  battalion  as  quartermaster.  After  the  war  he 
was  successively  and  sometimes  simultaneously:  surveyor  general  of  the 
Middle  Department  of  California,  a  member  of  the  banking  firm  of  James 
King  of  William,  a  state  senator,  assistant  treasurer  of  the  U.S.  mint  at  San 
Francisco,  president  of  the  Society  of  California  Pioneers,  and  a  Sonoma 
rancher.  For  additional  biographical  details,  see  "Excerpts  from  the  Memorial 
...  to  Major  Jacob  Rink  Snyder,"  Quarterly  of  the  Society  of  California 
Pioneers,  8  (1931):203-5. 

135.  Fremont  to  Louis  McLane 



5th  Feby  1847 

I  feel  it  my  duty  as  the  representative  of  the  United  States  govern- 
ment in  CaHfornia  to  instruct  you  to  proceed  forthwith  North  as  far 
as  in  your  discretion  may  seem  necessary,  and  exercise  your  best  ef- 
forts in  enlisting  troops  for  the  term  of  six  months,  compensation  to 

be  S per  month,  to  be  employed  in  the  service  of  the  United 

States,  and  at  such  points  in  the  territory  of  California  as  in  my  judg- 
ment they  are  most  required. 

You  are  furthermore  instructed  to  proceed  as  far  as  the  town  of 
Yerba  Buena  on  the  San  Francisco  bay,  and  examine  diligently  into 
the  state  of  the  naval  or  military  defence  of  that  town,  and  particu- 
larly to  enquire  into  the  best  means  of  fortifying  the  mouth  of  the 
bay  against  the  ingress  of  all  enemies,  and  I  particularly  recommend 
to  you  to  cause  to  be  commenced  the  erection  of  a  fort  or  battery  on 
White  island,  calculated,  when  completed  to  prevent  the  entrance 
of  any  ship  or  vessel  that  may  be  forbidden  to  do  so  by  said  United 

To  enable  you  to  carry  into  effect  the  foregoing  instructions  you 
are  hereby  authorized,  and  required  to  call  on  all  officers  under  my 
command  to  extend  to  you  any  assistance  of  money,  men,  or  prop- 
erty that  in  your  judgment  may  be  necessary  to  accomplish  the  same. 


In  witness  whereof,  I  have  hereunto  set  my  hand  and  affixed  my 
seal,  at  the  capital  of  California,  this  date  before  written/ 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  of  California 

Wm.  H.  Russell 
Sec  of  State 


Major  Louis  McLane 
U.  States  Army 
California  Regt. 

LS,  RC  (DNA-94,  LR,  K-217  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Endorsed:  "Reed. 
by  Genl  K.  from  Mr.  McLane  March  3d.  '47."  This  was  enclosure  15  in 
Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847,  and  is  in  support  of  Kearny's  charges 
against  JCF. 

1.  McLane  "reluctantly"  went  north  to  raise  men  and  money.  When  he 
reached  Monterey,  Commodore  Shubrick  terminated  his  mission  (mc  lane, 

136.  Fremont  to  James  Buchanan 

Pueblo  de  los  Angeles 
Feby.  6th.  1846  [1847] 

Hon.  James  Buchanan 
Sec.  of  State 

The  civil  government  which  in  various  parts  of  California  had 
been  temporarily  suspended  by  a  dangerous  insurrection  being  hap- 
pily again  in  full  and  vigorous  operation,  throughout  the  territory, 
and  having  myself  recently,  and  in  fulfillment  of  the  arrangements 
transmitted  for  your  consideration  in  September  last,  been  appointed 
to  the  office  of  chief  magistrate  of  the  country,  I  have  thought  it  im- 
portant and  necessary  in  the  discharge  of  my  official  relations  to 
draw  immediately  your  attention  to  our  actual  necessities,  and  to 
present  for  your  approval  such  measures  as  the  security  of  the  ter- 
ritory and  the  public  interest  have  rendered  it  urgently  expedient 


to  adopt.  The  great  embarrassment  that  I  at  present  experience  as 
the  principal  representative  of  the  United  States  government  is  the 
want  of  money  to  enable  me  to  pay  off  the  troops  under  my  com- 
mand; and  to  cancel  such  other  obligations,  as  I  have  been  com- 
pelled to  come  under  in  prosecuting  a  war  in  a  country  where  no 
supplies  whatever  were  furnished  me  by  my  own  government,  and 
where  most  articles  are  scarce  and  extravagantly  high. 

I  consider  the  temper  of  the  Californians  decidedly  favorable  to 
annexation  with  the  United  States,  and  I  see  no  obstacle  to  the  entire 
accomplishment  of  the  views  of  my  government  regarding  this 
country,  but  an  adequate  and  regular  supply  of  money. 

The  credit  system  is  but  little  understood  in  this  country  where  the 
manner  of  the  people  are  primitive  and  simple  and  finance  but  little 
known.  For  example  I  could  buy  easily  a  horse  or  mule  for  fifteen 
dollars  cash,  when  I  could  not  get  him  for  less  than  thirty  dollars 
credit,  if  indeed  I  could  get  him  at  all. 

I  have  also  been  compelled  to  raise  money  at  the  most  usurious 
rates  of  interest  to  avoid  the  falsification  of  pledges  that  I  have  made 
as  an  officer  of  the  United  States,  and  which  threatened  if  not  re- 
deemed, to  be  likely  to  produce  mutiny  and  dissatisfaction  among 
the  troops  and  generally  to  be  productive  of  the  worst  consequences. 
I  have  made  the  foregoing  representation  which  really  falls  short  of 
my  distress  for  the  want  of  money,  to  prove  the  necessity  of  my 
being  furnished  forthwith  with  an  adequate  supply,  and  regularly 
hereafter  be  kept  in  funds  so  as  to  avoid  a  recurrence  of  the  diffi- 
culties that  I  have  had  to  contend  with  for  the  want  of  it. 

In  the  absence  of  instructions  from  the  United  States  predicated  on 
a  certainty  of  what  has  occurred  in  this  remote  region,  where  a  regu- 
lar and  uniform  correspondence  cannot  exist,  I  have  considered  an 
early  meeting  of  the  representatives  of  the  people  essentially  pru- 
dent, as  well  to  furnish  undoubted  proof  that  our  designs  in  this 
favoured  land  are  to  make  it  an  integral  part  of  our  republican  gov- 
ernment, as  to  adopt  some  wholesome  municipal  regulations  abso- 
lutely required  by  the  late  unsettled  condition  of  aflfairs.  A  proclama- 
tion has  accordingly  been  already  issued  that  the  first  assembly  or 
convocation  of  the  legislative  council  shall  take  place  on  the  1st  of 
March  proximo.  With  a  view  to  conciliate  the  feelings  of  the  people 
and  secure  at  as  early  a  day  as  possible  the  adjustment  of  many  vexed 
and  harrassing  claims,  I  have  established  several  boards  of  Commis- 
sioners with  full  and  plenarv  power  to  institute  enquiries,  and  audit 


all  claims  occasioned  [  ?]  by  spoilations  committed  by  the  American 
troops  during  the  progress  of  the  recent  insurrection.  The  commis- 
sioners have  been  selected  with  a  due  regard  to  their  integrity  and 
capacity,  and  I  respectfully  recommend  that  by  your  ratification  the 
results  of  their  investigations  be  made  definitive  and  binding  upon 
the  government.  The  large  majority  of  the  claimants  are  poor  people 
and  payment  cannot  be  long  delayed  to  them  without  creating  great 

This  letter  will  be  handed  to  you  by  Mr.  Theodore  Talbot,  a 
young  gentleman  of  your  city  who  accompanied  me  on  the  recent 
Exploring  Expedition,  and  whose  continued  presence  in  this  country 
during  the  progress  of  the  events  which  induced  the  present  change, 
together  with  his  general  ability  and  habits  of  observation,  will  make 
him  useful  in  conveying  to  you  a  clear  and  accurate  knowledge  of 
California.  This  made  a  principal  reason  in  selecting  him  as  the 
bearer  of  these  despatches  to  you ;  my  own  situation  being  one  of  so 
much  difficulty,  and  so  much  embarrassed  by  uncertainty,  that  I  feel 
it  impossible  in  the  midst  of  many  causes  for  anxiety  and  through 
incessant  interruptions  and  calls  on  my  attention,  to  furnish  you 
with  a  connected  history  of  events  here.  It  may  be  due  myself  as  an 
officer  of  the  U.  States  government,  cherishing  the  fullest  regard  to 
discipline  and  submission  to  the  properly  constituted  civil  authorities 
at  home,  and  at  all  times  anxiously  inclined  to  support  the  dignity 
of  our  Government,  to  add;  that  I  hold  my  office  as  do  all  others 
under  me  by  no  stronger  tenure  than  the  will  of  the  President,  and 
am  ready  at  any  moment  to  lay  it  down,  or  observe  a  contrary  course 
touching  the  municipal  regulations  of  the  country,  when  the  plea- 
sure of  the  President  is  made  known  to  me. 

In  conclusion  I  respectfully  offer  for  your  consideration  my  remote 
position  and  want  of  information  as  a  justification  of  any  infor- 
malities of  official  conduct.  My  principal  objects  have  always  been 
the  interest  and  the  approbation  of  my  government,  and  in  the  pur- 
suit of  these  great  ends  my  measures  have  been  such  as  I  regard  inci- 
dental to  the  extraordinary  powers  I  am  called  upon  to  exercise,  and 
to  the  large  discretion  which  must  always  be  permitted  to  the  gov- 
ernor of  a  province  so  remote  as  California. 

With  sentiment  of  great  consideration  and  personal  regard,  I  have 
the  honor  to  be  Your  Obedt.  Servt. 

J.  C.  Fremont, 
Governor  of  California 


ALS,  RC  (DNA-107,  LR,  S-215  [65]).  On  the  first  page  of  the  letter  ap- 
pears this  notation:  "June  4th.  1847.  Reed,  from  Mr.  Talbot  personally  & 
referred  to  the  Secretary  of  War."  Endorsed:  "Department  of  State  4  June 
1847.  The  within  communication  from  Colonel  Fremont  is  respectfully 
referred  to  the  Secretary  of  War;  because  the  Government  of  California  being 
derived  from  the  War  making  power  &  resting  upon  military  authority,  that 
officer  ought  to  receive  his  instructions  from  the  War  Department.  James 

In  a  letter  to  Stephen  Watts  Kearny,  11  June  1847,  Secretary  of  War  Wil- 
liam L.  Marcy  mentioned  that  a  letter  to  the  Secretary  of  State  from  JCF, 
dated  3  Feb.  1847,  had  been  referred  to  him.  Since  it  likewise,  dwelt  on  the 
need  for  money,  Marcy  has  probably  made  a  mistake  on  the  date,  and  the 
so-called  3  Feb.  letter  is  really  the  6  Feb.  letter  {New  Mexico  aitd  California, 
House  Exec.  Doc.  70,  pp.  28-31,  30th  Cong.,  1st  sess..  Serial  521). 

137.  Fremont  to  W.  Branford  Shubrick 


7  Feby.  1847 

I  had  the  honor  at  a  late  hour  of  last  night,  to  receive  your  favor  of 
the  25th  ultimo,^  and  fully  coinciding  with  the  opinion  that  you 
express,  that  a  cooperation  of  our  respective  commands,  as  a  precau- 
tionary measure  at  least,  is  of  primary  importance,  I  hasten  to  ack- 
nowledge its  receipt,  and  signify  to  you  my  earnest  desire  to  see  you 
and  consult  on  the  measures  calculated  in  our  judgments  to  be  the 
most  certain  of  making  our  labors  conduce  to  the  interest  of  our 

Not  having  had  as  you  remarked  any  communication  since  your 
arrival  on  this  coast  with  Commodore  Stockton,  you  seem  not  to 
have  been  made  acquainted  with  the  fact  that  by  a  commission  from 
the  Commodore  I  had  been  placed  in  command  of  the  territory,  as 
civil  Governor,  which  I  beg  leave  herewith  to  communicate  to  you. 

It  is  also  proper  to  advise  you  that  Genl.  Kearney,  who  comes  to 
California  with  instruction  from  the  Sec  of  War,  dated  as  early  as 
June  last,  (designed  for  a  state  of  affairs  which  he  by  no  means 
found,  to  wit,  the  country  still  unconquered,  and  which  of  course 
being  intended  for  that  very  different  circumstances,  cannot  have  ap- 
plication here)  claims  himself  to  have  supreme  command  in  Cali- 
fornia, which  position  I  felt  it  my  duty  to  deny  him,  and  in  language 
respectful  but  decisive  of  my  purpose  communicated  to  him. 


The  subjoined  reasons  led  me  to  the  conclusion  I  adopted;  =  The 
conquest  of  California  was  undertaken  and  completed  by  the  joint 
efforts  of  Commodore  Stockton  &  myself  in  obedience  to  what  we 
regarded  paramount  duties  from  us  to  our  Governt;  =  that  done, 
the  next  necessary  step  in  order,  was  the  organization  of  a  civil  gov- 
ernment designed  to  maintain  the  conquest  by  the  exercise  of  mild 
and  wholesome  civil  restraints  over  the  people  rather  than  by  the 
iron  rule  of  a  military  force. 

The  result  of  our  labors,  which  were  precisely  what'  were  con- 
templated by  the  instructions  of  Genl.  Kearney,  were  promptly  com- 
municated to  the  Executive  of  the  Union  by  an  express  which  has 
not  yet  brought  back  the  approval  or  disapproval  of  the  Govt. 

Genl.  Kearney's  instructions  being  therefore  to  the  letter  fully 
anticipated  by  others;  =  I  did  not  feel  myself  at  liberty  to  yield  a 
position  so  important  to  the  interests  of  my  country  until,  after  a 
full  understanding  of  all  the  grounds,  it  should  be  the  pleasure  of  my 
government  that  I  should  do  so. 

I  trust  the  foregoing  explanation  will  fully  satisfy  you  that  the 
position  I  take  is  an  incident  to  the  extraordinary  circumstances 
surrounding  me,  and  is  borne  out  by  a  rigid  adherence  to  the  line  of 

The  insurrection  which  broke  out  here  in  September  last,  and 
which  it  required  a  considerable  force  and  a  large  expenditure  of 
money  to  put  down,  has  left  me  in  rather  an  embarrassed  condition 
for  funds  to  redeem  my  engagements  to  my  men,  and  to  cancel  the 
necessary  obligations  created  by  the  Quartermaster  and  Commis- 
sariat departments  of  the  Command;  =  If,  therefore,  you  can  at  an 
early  day  advance  me  a  considerable  sum  of  money  it  will  tend 
greatly  to  subserve  the  interests  of  the  country  and  relieve  an  em- 
barrassment which  as  an  officer  of  the  Govt,  heavily  presses  me. 

I  start  off  simultaneous  with  this  a  courier  to  the  United  States 
with  important  despatches,  but  thinking  perhaps  that  you  might 
wish  to  avail  yourself  of  so  good  an  opportunity  of  forwarding  des- 
patches, I  have  ordered  him  to  remain  on  the  border  of  the  settle- 
ments until  the  return  of  my  courier  from  you.  The  precise  point 
where  my  courier  will  remain  recruiting  his  animals  being  at  this 
time  unknown  to  me,  you  will  please  send  your  despatches  by  the 
return  courier  to  me  and  I  will  forward  them  to  the  party  home- 
ward bound. 


With  considerations  of  high  respect,  I  am  sir,  your  obedt.  servt. 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  of  California 

Commodore  W.  Branford  Shubrick 
Commanding  U.  S.  Naval  Forces  in  the  Pacific  Ocean 
Bay  of  Monterey 

ALS,  RC  (DNA-94,  LR,  K-217  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Endorsed:  "Re- 
ceived 13  Feby.  1847,  W.  B.  S."  "Reed,  from  Com.  S.  March  1,  S.  W.  K." 
Enclosure  5  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847,  and  used  in  support  of  the 
military  charges  against  JCF.  Copy  in  DNA-45,  Area  9  File,  Pacific.  William 
Branford  Shubrick  (1790-1874),  who  had  arrived  at  Monterey  on  the  Inde- 
pendence on  22  Jan.,  replaced  Stockton  as  commander  of  the  Pacific  Squadron 
by  reason  of  seniority.  After  his  superior  officer,  Commodore  James  Biddle, 
arrived  on  the  Columbus  in  early  March,  Shubrick  took  command  of  the 
squadron  blockading  Mexican  ports.  However,  he  is  best  remembered  for  his 
command  of  the  expedition  sent  to  settle  difficulties  with  Paraguay  in  1858-59. 

1.  Shubrick's  letter  to  JCF  of  25  Jan.  has  not  been  found. 

138.  Juan  B.  Alvarado  to  Fremont 

[10  Feb.  1847] 

In  the  port  of  Monterey  of  Upper  California  on  the  tenth  day  of 
the  month  of  February  in  the  year  of  One  Thousand  eight  hundred 
and  forty-seven,  before  me  Walter  Colton,  Justice  of  the  Peace  of 
this  demarcation,  and  before  the  subscribing  witnesses,  appeared 
Don  Juan  Bta.  Alvarado  and  says:  That  for  himself  and  in  the 
name  of  his  wife  Da.  Martina  Castro  de  Alvarado  and  other  heirs 
and  successors,  and  whoever  of  them  shall  have  title,  voice  and  re- 
pute in  whatever  manner,  he  sells  and  conveys  in  public  sale  and 
perpetual  alienation  by  right  of  inheritance  forever  and  ever  to  John 
C.  Fremont,  a  tract  which  belongs  to  him  in  ownership,  by  conces- 
sion made  to  him  by  the  Most  Excellt.  Sefior  Commandant  Gen- 
eral and  Governor  of  the  Department  Don  Manuel  Micheltorena, 
with  date  29th  Feby  1844.  Said  tract  is  called  "Las  Mariposas"  it  has 
an  extent  of  ten  sitios  de  ganado  mayor,^  and  is  situated  between  the 
limits  of  the  Sierra  Nevada  and  the  Rivers  known  by  the  name  of 


Chauchilas  [Chowchilla],  de  la  Merced  and  San  Joaquin.  The  ven- 
dor declares  that  he  has  not  alienated  nor  burdened  it,  and  that  it  is 
free  from  every  public  burden,  and  as  such  he  sells  it  to  the  pur- 
chaser in  the  price  of  three  thousand  dollars  ($3000)  which  he  has 
received  to  his  entire  satisfaction ;  that  henceforth  he  may  use  it  and 
dispose  of  the  dominion,  ov^^nership  and  other  whatever  right  may 
aid  him  in  the  said  tract,  renouncing  it  and  transferring  it  to  the 
purchaser,  that  he  may  dispose  of  it,  as  of  his  own  thing:  the  vendor 
obligating  himself  that  this  sale  shall  be  certain,  secure  and  effective 
to  him,  (the  vendor)  and  that  he  will  not  disturb  him,  or  institute  a 
law  suit  against  him,  and  that  in  all  cases  if  there  shall  be  any  claim 
set  up,  he  will  be  bound  to  indemnify  the  purchaser  for  all  the 
damages  and  prejudices  which  may  have  been  occasioned  to  him. 
To  which  effect,  he  transfers  on  this  date  to  the  purchaser,  the  said 
title  of  concession,  and  to  the  observance  of  all  the  foregoing  he  obli- 
gates all  his  property  present  and  future,  and  with  them  he  submits 
himself  to  the  Laws  and  to  Jurisdiction  of  the  Judge  who  may  have 
cognizance  of  his  causes,  in  order  to  compel  him  to  its  fulfilment, 
and  oblige  him,  as  if  by  final  judgement,  admitted  and  passed  in 
authority  of  a  thing  adjudged,  renouncing  the  laws  which  might 
favor  him  in  the  promises. 

(Signed)  Juan  B.  Alvarado. 

(Signed)     Walter  Colton^ 
Chief  Magistrate 
Witness      Wm.  Ed.  Hartnell 
Witness      Wm.  R.  Garner^ 

On  said  day,  month,  and  year,  appeared  also  before  me  and  the 
said  Witnesses,  Da.  Martina  Castro  de  Alvarado,  wife  of  Don  Juan 
Bta.  Alvarado  and  said:  That  in  her  name  and  those  of  her  heirs  and 
successors,  and  of  whoever  of  them  shall  have  title,  voice  and  repute, 
in  whatever  manner,  she  gives  for  well  sold  the  before  mentioned 
place,  and  that  she  spontaneously  and  voluntarily  renounces  all  right 
which  she  and  her  said  heirs  may  have  to  it. 

(Signed)     Martina  Castro  de  Alvarado 


Wm.  R.  Garner 


Wm.  Ed.  Hartnell 


Walter  Colton 

Chief  Magistrate  of  Monterey 

Office  of  California  Land  Commission 
Los  Angeles,  Septr.  27th.  1852 
I  certify  the  foregoing  to  be  a  true  and  correct  Translation  of  the 
original  on  file  in  this  office  in  Case  No.  L 

(Signed)  Geo.  Fisher 
Filed  in  Office  Septr.  18th.  1852 

(Signed)  Geo.  Fisher 

Translated  copy  (DNA-49.  California  Private  Land  Claims  Dockets, 
Docket  1,  pp.  88-89).  The  original  documents  by  which  Las  Mariposas  was 
conveyed  to  Alvarado  and  then  to  JCF  were  first  located  in  the  archives  at 
Monterey,  but  with  the  conclusion  of  the  American  conquest,  those  pertain- 
ing to  land  titles  were  placed  in  the  Office  of  the  U.S.  Surveyor  for  California 
in  San  Francisco.  Here  they  remained  until  1906,  when  they  were  destroyed 
by  fire  following  the  earthquake.  Fortunately,  copies  may  be  found  in  Docket 
1,  which  is  the  transcript  of  the  proceedings  in  the  case  before  the  Board  of 
U.S.  Lind  Commissioners,  the  District  Court  of  the  United  States  for  the 
Northern  District  of  California,  and  the  Supreme  Court. 

Larkin  purchased  Las  Mariposas  for  JCF  and  charged  him  a  commission 
of  7^  percent,  or  $225  (crampton,  27).  Located  not  far  from  Yosemite  Valley. 
the  vast  grant  was  to  cause  JCF  endless  trouble,  and  it  was  not  until  19  Feb. 
1856  that  he  received  a  U.S.  patent.  It  was  a  "floating  grant,"  with  no  set 
boundaries,  and  the  vendor's  title  was  by  no  means  absolute.  Because  of  the 
Indian  menace,  Alvarado  had  been  unable  to  comply  with  the  provisions  for 
survey  and  settlement;  in  addition,  one  of  terms  of  the  grant  had  forbidden 
the  sale  or  alienation  of  the  property.  The  legal  problems  were  further  com- 
plicated by  the  discovery  of  gold  in  1849. 

Before  he  left  California  in  June  1847,  JCF  sought  the  aid  of  a  friend  in 
establishing  a  settlement  on  the  grant.  He  gave  a  power  of  attorney  to 
Pierson  B.  Reading,  who  sent  Joseph  W.  Buzzell  with  men,  money,  and 
equipment  to  build  a  house  and  corral,  but  Indian  hostility  forced  the  aban- 
donment of  Buzzell's  four  attempts  to  occupy  Las  Mariposas  (crampton, 

En  route  to  California  in  1849,  JCF  encountered  a  party  of  Sonorans  on 
their  way  to  the  goldfields.  He  made  arrangements  with  them  to  proceed  to 
Las  Mariposas  and  work  the  gold  that  he  believed  could  be  found  there,  on  a 
fifty-fifty  basis  (Jessie  B.  Fremont,  "Creat  Events  during  the  Life  of  Major 
General  John  C.  Fremont,"  pp.  98,  109,  CU-B).  Apparently  Alexander  Godey 
went  along  to  supervise  them  and  to  prospect  for  gold.  In  the  summer  of 
1849  JCF  visited  the  grant  and  had  Charles  Preuss  survey  and  draft  a  map  of 
the  tract  (William  C.  Jones's  testimony  to  the  Board  of  California  Land 
Commissioners,  DNA-49,  California  Private  Land  Claims  Dockets,  Docket  1, 
p.  99).  This  map  seems  not  to  have  been  preserved,  but  in  a  letter  to  a  friend 
JBF  indicates  that  her  husband  had  paid  Preuss  $500  for  some  1849  services 


in  California  (JBF  to  Elizabeth  Blair  Lee,  4  May    [1857?],  NjP— Blair-Lee 

1.  Ranges  for  a  lot  of  cattle,  or  ten  leagues. 

2.  A  Congregationalist  minister  and  former  journalist,  Walter  Colton 
(1797-1851)  had  served  as  naval  chaplain  aboard  the  Congress  before  being 
appointed  alcalde  at  Monterey  by  Commodore  Stockton.  At  the  time  of  the 
Mariposa  transaction  he  was  publishing  the  Calijornian  with  Robert  Semple 
and  gathering  material  for  his  famous  Three  Years  in  California,  which  was 
published  in  1850  after  he  left  California  (drury). 

3.  An  English  sailor  who  had  been  forcibly  put  ashore  in  California  in  1824 
by  the  captain  of  a  whaler,  William  Robert  Garner  (1803-49)  was  secretary, 
translator,  and  guide  to  Walter  Colton.  At  Colton's  urging.  Garner  began 
writing  a  series  of  letters  on  California  which  were  to  appear  in  1847  and 
1848  in  the  Philadelphia  North  American  and  United  States  Gazette  and  in 
the  New  York  Journal  of  Commerce.  In  1970  the  letters  were  collected  and 
edited  and  may  be  found  In  garner,  along  with  a  biographical  sketch  of  their 

139.   Fremont  to  Willard  P.  Hall 

Government  House 
Angeles,  11th  Feby.  1847 

Hon.  Willard  P.  Hall 

The  position  I  occupy  as  the  chief  representative  of  the  U.  S.  Gov- 
ernment in  California,  renders  it  an  imperative  duty  on  me,  that  I 
should  prudently  but  with  energy  exert  all  the  power  with  which  I 
am  clothed  to  retain  the  conquest  we  have  made,  and  strengthen  it 
by  all  means  possible. 

The  Executive  Office  of  California,  which  I  understand  centers 
supreme  civil  and  military  command  in  the  territory  was  actually  as- 
signed me  as  early  as  September  last,  and  my  entering  on  the  duties 
of  the  same  was  postponed  only  in  consequence  of  an  insurrection 
that  broke  out  in  this  portion  of  the  territory,  which  it  took  some 
months  to  quell;  that  done  I  assumed  the  office  of  Govr.,  as  had  been, 
previously  arranged. 

I  learn  with  surprise  and  mortification  that  Genl.  Kearney,  in 
obedience  to  what  I  cannot  but  regard  as  obsolete  instructions  from 
the  Sec.  of  War,  means  to  question  my  right,  and  viewing  my  posi- 
tion and  claim  clear  and  indisputable  I  cannot  without  considering 


myself  derelict  to  my  trust  and  unworthy  the  station  of  an  American 
officer,  yield  or  to  permit  myself  to  be  interfered  with  by  any  other, 
until  directed  to  do  so,  by  the  proper  authorities  at  home  predicated 
on  full  and  ample  despatches  that  I  forwarded  to  Washington  as 
early  as  August  of  last  year. 

I  require  the  cooperation,  with  a  view  to  the  important  object  of 
preserving  the  peace  and  tranquility  of  California,  of  every  Ameri- 
can citizen  and  soldier  in  the  territory  and  must  expressly  inhibit 
from  all  quarters  all  arguments  and  intimations  that  may  tend  to 
weaken  my  authority  by  inducing  the  belief  that  my  present  position 
is  an  act  of  usurpation,  unjust,  and  will  not  be  sanctioned  by  my 

Intimations,  not  perhaps  susceptible  of  positive  proof,  have  reached 
me  that  you  were  using  your  talents,  and  high  character  as  a  member 
of  the  American  Congress,  in  your  intercourse  with  the  citizens  of 
this  place  and  the  troops  under  my  immediate  command  to  raise 
doubts,  if  not  questioning  altogether  the  legitimacy  or  validity  of 
my  tenure  of  office. 

I  feel  myself  constrained  therefore  in  obedience  to  the  behests,  and 
high  interests  of  my  government,  as  well  as  the  respect  I  cherish  for 
the  position  you  occupy  to  enquire  of  you  in  frankness  whether  the 
intimations  alluded  to  have  any  foundation  in  fact  or  truth. 

Cherishing  a  confident  belief  that  you  must  on  reflection  concur 
with  me,  in  thinking,  that  at  this  juncture,  any  move  calculated  to 
weaken  me,  or  embarrass,  must  be  inexpedient  and  improper,  I  trust 
a  frank  negative  answer  from  you  will  dissipate  my  doubts,  and 
admonish  me  that  the  enquiry  I  have  made  was  altogether  unneces- 
sary. With  considerations  of  high  respect  I  am  your  obt.  servt. 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  of  California 

LS,  RC  {DNA-94,  LR.  K-217  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Addressed  and  en- 
dorsed. Enclosure  6  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847,  and  presented 
against  JCF  at  the  court-martial  as  evidence  that  he  was  endeavoring  to  per- 
suade Hall,  a  man  of  influence,  to  aid  and  abet  him  in  resisting  and  making 
mutiny  against  Kearny. 

Willard  P.  Hall  (1820-82)  was  a  young  lawyer  who  had  enlisted  as  a 
private  in  the  1st  Missouri  Cavalry  under  Col.  Alexander  W.  Doniphan  soon 
after  the  beginning  of  the  Mexican  War.  On  the  Santa  Fe  Trail,  word 
reached  him  that  he  had  been  elected  to  Congress  from  his  home  district,  but 
he  continued  on  with  the  troops  and  helped  to  construct  the  code  of  civil 
laws  known  as  the  "Kearny  code"  for  New   Mexico.  He   went  on   to  Cali- 


fornia  with  the  Mormon  Battalion  and  returned  east  with  General  Kearny  to 
take  his  seat  in  the  House  of  Representatives — belatedly,  for  the  term  had 
begun  on  4  March.  During  the  Civil  War  Hall  served  first  as  provisional 
lieutenant  governor  and  later  as  governor  of  Missouri.  In  his  testimony  at 
JCF's  court-martial  Hall  indicated  that  his  position  in  California  was  that  of 
a  private  in  Company  C  of  the  first  regiment  of  Missouri  Mounted  Volun- 
teers (CT.  MARTIAL,  209). 

140.  Jacob  R.  Snyder  to  Edward  M.  Kern 

Angeles  Feb.  11th.  1847 
Dr.  Sir 

Thirty  Saddles  and  thirty  two  horses,  you  will  please  to  receive 
from  the  Tularie  Indians,  who  have  been  in  the  employ  of  the  U. 
States  Government;  Should  the  Indians  not  bring  in  the  horses  and 
saddles  Please  send  for  them. 
By  order  of  Lieut.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 

Jacob  R.  Snyder 
Jose  Jesus^  is  the  Chief  of  the  tribe. 

ALS,  RC  (CSmH). 

1.  Siyakum  chief  Jose  Jesus  and  his  people  occupied  the  area  between 
French  Camp  Slough  and  the  Stanislaus  River.  The  chief  had  long  been  un- 
friendly to  the  Californians,  and  he  and  some  of  his  warriors  were  enlisted 
by  Sutter  for  Company  H  of  the  California  Battalion  ( Rogers  [3];  Bancroft, 

141.  W.  Branford  Shubrick  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  ship  Independence 
Monterey,  February  13th.  1847 

I  have  the  honor  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  letter  of  the 
7th  instant,  and  shall  detain  your  courier  as  short  a  time  as  possible, 
for  my  answer,  and  will  also  avail  myself  of  your  kind  offer  to  for- 
ward despatches  to  the  United  States. 


When  I  wrote  to  you  on  the  25th  ultimo,  I  was  not  informed  of 
the  arrival  of  Brigadier  General  Kearny  in  California,  and  addressed 
you  as  the  Senior  Officer  of  the  Army  in  the  Territory.  On  the  28th, 
however,  having  understood  that  the  General  was  at  "Los  Angeles," 
I  addressed  a  similar  letter  to  him. 

On  the  8th  instant,  General  Kearny  arrived  in  this  harbor,  in  the 
sloop  of  war  "Cyane",  and  left  by  the  same  conveyance,  on  the  11th 
for  San  Francisco.  While  the  General  was  here  we  consulted  freely, 
as  enjoined  on  me  by  my  instructions,  and  on  him  by  his,  on  the 
measures  necessary  to  be  taken  by  us  for  the  security  of  the  Territory 
of  California.^ 

I  am  looking  daily  for  the  arrival  of  Commodore  Stockton  in  this 
harbor,  when  I  shall  of  course  receive  from  him  a  full  account  of 
the  measures  taken  by  him  while  in  command  of  the  Squadron. 

It  is  to  be  hoped  that  the  pleasure  of  the  President  of  the  United 
States  on  this  subject  of  the  organization  of  a  civil  government,  and 
of  the  measures  taken  by  Commodore  Stockton  and  yourself,  may 
be  soon  known;  and  it  will  give  me  pleasure  at  all  times,  to  cooperate 
with  the  Civil  Government  as  well  as  with  the  Military  Commander 
in  Chief  for  the  peace  and  security  of  the  Territory. 

I  regret  to  say  that  not  anticipating  any  unusual  draft  on  them,  the 
funds  brought  with  me  are  barely  sufficient  with  the  most  economi- 
cal expenditure  to  meet  the  wants  of  the  Squadron.  I  am,  Very  Re- 
spectfully, Sir,  Your  Obedt.  Servt.^ 

W.  Branford  Shubrick 
Commander  in  Chief 
United  States  Naval  Forces. 
Lieut.  Colonel  Fremont  &c.  &c.  &c. 
"Los  Angeles." 

Copy  (DNA-45,  Area  9  File,  Pacific). 

1.  More  than  a  month  later,  and  after  the  receipt  of  new  instructions  from 
Washington,  Kearny  wrote  an  account  of  his  visit  with  Shubrick  which 
indicates  that  on  8  Feb.  he  was  indeed  in  doubt  about  the  supremacy  of 
his  civil  authority  in  California  (see  CT.  martial,  96-99). 

2.  On  the  same  day  Shubrick  wrote  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  that  he 
felt  the  appointment  of  JCF  was  "prematurely  taken  by  Commodore  Stock- 
ton." But  since  the  appointment  had  been  communicated  to  the  president  in 
August,  he  soon  expected  more  information  and  would  therefore  await  such 
information,  "and  confine  myself  for  the  present  to  arrangements  for  the 
quiet  possession  of  the  territory,  and  for  the  blockade  of  the  coast  of  Mexico" 
(Shubrick  to  George  Bancroft,  13  Feb.  1847,  ct.  martial,  296).  Later  Stock- 
ton   questioned    Shubrick's    ethics    in    expressing    himself    so    frankly    to    the 

Secretary  of  the  Navy.  In  the  unpleasant  correspondence  that  resulted  between 
the  two  naval  officers,  Shubrick  sought  the  advice  of  his  friend  James  Feni- 
more  Cooper  in  answering  Stockton  (Cooper  to  Shubrick,  5  Aug.  1849, 
J.  F.  COOPER,  6:58-62). 

142.  Mariano  G.  Vallejo  to  Fremont 

Sonoma,  15  Feb.  1847 
Governor  J.  C.  Fremont 
Respected  Sir: 

I  received  with  gratitude  your  favorable  [letter]  of  the  past  22  of 
January  enclosing  the  honorable  commission  Your  Excellency  R.  F. 
Stockton  had  conferred  upon  me.  The  desire  burns  in  me  incessantly 
that  in  this,  the  country  of  my  birth,  the  peace,  order  and  prosperity 
of  w^hich  it  is  capable  will  reign  and  that  it  will  be  the  consequence 
of  a  wise  and  just  government  and  it  has  been  very  flattering  that 
without  meriting  it,  you  have  found  me  capable  of  contributing  300 
pesos  to  the  big  enterprise  of  regenerating  this  Dept.  assigning  me  a 
place  in  the  council  that  must  be  organized  and  if  I  have  accepted  the 
delicate  task  it  is  only  because  I  have  confidence  and  depend  more  in 
the  cleverness  and  patriotism  of  my  dignified  colleagues  than  in  my 
poor  ability,  which  is  very  insufficient,  for  performing  such  an 
arduous  assignment  of  whose  requirements  I  am  still  ignorant. 

With  no  less  pleasure  than  that  which  you  show  in  your  aforesaid 
[letter]  I  forsee  positive  advantages  for  the  country  as  a  result  of  your 
cooperation  and  I  hope  to  see  realized  the  wishes  that  you  express 
in  the  same  [letter]  concerning  the  restoration  of  the  order  and  tran- 
quility that  are  so  needed. 

You  have  always  seen  me,  when  the  circumstances  required  it,  to 
subordinate  my  own  interest  to  that  of  the  public  well-being  and  to 
abandon  the  repose  and  domestic  comfort  to  work  hard  for  the  well- 
being  of  my  fellow  citizens;  I  find  myself  now  still  in  the  same 
patriotic  mood  and  to  prove  it,  I  have  not  been  stopped  by  reason  of 
conscience  or  by  my  deteriorated  health  or  by  the  class  of  prisoner  in 
which  I  still  find  myself  and  I  shall  be  ready  to  start  my  march  as 
soon  as  the  H.  Sr.  D.  T.  O.  Larkin,  who  wrote  to  me  that  he  was 
coming  to  Yerba  Buena  to  lead  the  members  of  the  Council,  arrives, 
and  even  without  waiting  for  him  I  would  have  left  today  if  my  fail- 


ing  health,  which  would  be  now  worsened  by  the  navigation  had 
not  prevented  it. 

We  have  favorably  viewed  your  recommendation  in  favor  of  M. 
Knight  as  we  shall  always  do  with  respect  to  any  order  that  you 
wish  to  give  us. 

Yours  truly,  with  the  most  high  esteem,  kisses  your  hand. 


AL,  translation  of  a  draft  in  CU-B.  The  letter  actually  sent  has  apparently 
been  lost.  Before  surrendering  the  governorship  of  the  conquered  territory  of 
California  to  JCF  in  Jan.  1847,  Stockton  had  appointed  Vallejo  to  the  legisla- 
tive council  (see  Doc.  No.  123). 

143.  Robert  F.  Stockton  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Frigate  Congress 
Harbour  of  San  Diego 
February  16th.  1847 
My  Dear  Sir, 

Will  you  do  me  the  favour  to  appoint  Don  Santiago  Arguello,^ 
Collector  for  this  port  in  the  place  of  Don  Pedro  C.  Carrillo,  who  has 
removed  to  Santa  Barbara. 

We  have  but  three  days  bread  on  board  and  no  money;  I  shall 
therefore  remain  here  until  I  get  money,  Bread  and  Despatches. 

On  Monday  next  is  the  22nd  of  February.  Suppose  you  come  down 
to  San  Diego  on  Sunday  with  your  Suite,  and  visit  the  Ship  on  Mon- 
day; when  I  will  give  a  fete  in  honor  of  the  day  and  the  Governor. 
Faithfully,  Yr.  obdt.  servt., 

R.  F.  Stockton 
To  His  Excellency 
Governor  J.  C.  Fremont 
Ciudad  de  los  Angeles 

P.  S. 

Bring  Russell  along  to  write  an  account  of  it  for  the  Californian, 
for  the  edification  of  General  Kearny. 

Lbk  (DNA-45,  Entry  395  [E-20-A],  Letterbook  of  Robert  F.  Stockton, 
1846-47).   Philip   St.   Ceorge   Cooke   records   that    the    "Secretary   of   State" 

(Russell)  stopped  at  the  Mission  San  Luis  Rey  on  the  evening  of  21  Feb.  He 
was  on  his  way  to  San  Diego  to  represent  the  government  at  the  ball  (cooke, 

1.  Santiago  E.  Argiiello  (ca.  1813-57),  acting  as  captain,  had  enrolled  a 
company  in  San  Diego  in  Dec.  1846  to  serve  three  months  in  the  California 
Battalion.  JCF  granted  Stockton  the  favor  requested  in  this  letter,  and 
Argiiello  served  as  collector  of  the  port  of  San  Diego  until  June  1847. 

144.  Fremont  to  Pierson  B.  Reading 

Angeles  February  16th  1847 


In  efTecting  settlements  with  the  officers  connected  with  the  Bat- 
taHon,  you  are  authorized  to  allow  in  their  accounts  Forage  and  ser- 
vant hire  as  specified  in  the  Pay  Table  without  requiring  of  them 
certificates  of  having  constantly  kept  or  employed  the  horses  and 
servants  as  allowed  agreeably  to  their  respective  ranks.  Respectfully, 

J.  C.  Fremont, 
Lieut.  Col.  Comm'd'g.  Battn.  and  Governor  of  California 

LS,  RC  (C). 

145.  Fremont  to  Archibald  H.  Gillespie 


17  Feby.  1847 

I  avail  myself  of  a  momentary  freedom,  or  respite  from  a  vexatious 
headache  to  reply  to  your  communication  of  yesterday's  date. 

Recognizing  Commodore  Stockton  as  civil  and  military  Governor 
of  California,  and  thereby  invested  with  full  power  to  represent  & 
bind  the  U.  S.  government  in  all  his  official  acts,  and  of  course,  the 
rate  of  pay  promised  to  the  Vols  [Volunteers] ;— I  feel  as  his  succes- 
sor as  if  I  had  no  other  election  than  to  ratify  all  the  promises  and 
engagements  entered  into  by  him  whilst  acting  as  Govr. 

1  therefore,  authorize  and  require  all  his  contracts  with  the  Vols, 
to  be  redeemed  to  the  letter,  without  expressing  any  opinion  as  to 


the  propriety  of  the  measures  adopted  by  him.  Very  Respectfully 
Your  Obt.  servt., 

}.  C.  Fremont 
Govr.  of  California 
To  Arch.  H.  Gillespie 
Major  Califa.  Battln. 

LS,  RC  (CLU — Gillespie  Papers).  Addressed.  Endorsed:  "Col.  Fremont  in 
reply  to  inquiry  in  relation  to  an  increase  of  pay  from  $10  to  $25.  Los 
Angeles,  Feby.  17th  1847.  Russell's  writing;  Fremont's  signature." 


146.  Fremont  to  Jacob  R.  Snyder 

[Los  Angeles] 
[22  Feb.  1847] 

to  all  to  whom  these  presents  shall  come 


Know  ye,  that  I,  J.  C.  Fremont,  Governor  of  California,  in  virtue 
and  by  the  authority  of  powers  vested  in  me  as  such,  and  in  the  con- 
sideration of  the  entire  and  perfect  confidence  that  I  repose  in  the 
capacity,  integrity  and  favorable  disposition  cherished  by  Jacob  R. 
Snyder  towards  the  public  service,  do  hereby  constitute,  ordain,  and 
appoint  him,  superintendent  of  the  Mission  of  San  Gabriel  with 
authority  and  power  to  take  full  and  entire  control  of  said  Mission 
of  San  Gabriel,  to  employ  labour  to  make  all  needfull  repairs  and  to 
do  aught  else  with  said  Mission,  as  in  his  judgement  and  discretion 
may  conduce,  by  such  expenditure  and  labour  to  the  public  interest. 

In  testimony  whereof  I  have  hereunto  set  my  name,  and  have 
caused  the  seal  of  the  Territory  of  California  to  be  afhxed  at  the 
Ciudad  de  Los  Angeles  the  Capitol  of  California  this  Twenty  second 
day  of  February  A.  D.  Eighteen  hundred  and  forty  seven. 

Attest  J.  C.  Fremont 

Wm.  H.  Russell  Governor  of  California 

Sec'y  of  State  [^ca/] 

Facsimile,  printed  in  the  Quarterly  of  the  Society  of  CaHfornia  Pioneers,  8 


147.  W.  Branford  Shubrick  to  Fremont 

U.  S.  Ship  Independence 
Monterey,  February  23rd  1847 

Since  my  letter  to  you  of  the  22nd^  Passed  Midshipman  McLane 
of  the  Navy  has  arrived  at  this  place  under  some  instructions  from 
you,"  and  as  I  understand  your  courier  has  not  yet  left,  I  avail  myself 
of  him  to  send  this. 

Mr.  McLane  informs  me  that  there  are  several  officers  of  the 
Navy  doing  duty  with  the  volunteers  under  your  command.  I  desire 
that  all  such  be  immediately  returned  to  the  Squadron,  unless  Gen- 
eral Kearny  who,  I  am  instructed,  is  the  Commanding  Military 
Officer  in  California,  and  invested  by  the  President  with  the  adminis- 
trative functions  of  Government  over  the  people  and  Territory, 
should  wish  their  services  on  land.  I  am.  Sir,  Very  Respectfully  Your 
Obdt.  Servt.^ 

(Signed)  W.  Branford  Shubrick 
Commander  in  Chief  of  the  Naval  Force 

Lieutenant  Colonel  J.  C.  Fremont 

U.  S.  Army 

Pueblo  de  Los  Angeles. 

Copy  of  enclosure  10  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-217  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 

1.  Not  found,  although  a  special  search  was  made  of  the  pertinent  series 
of  naval  records.  Perhaps  Shubrick  refers  to  his  letter  of  25  Jan.  1847,  not 

2.  Not  only  Louis  McLane  but,  more  important,  Lieut.  J.  M.  Watson  had 
arrived  in  Monterey  on  or  before  20  Feb.  with  significant  dispatches  from 
Washington,  including  one  from  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  dated  5  Nov. 
1846  and  addressed  to  Stockton,  but  given  in  his  absence  to  Shubrick.  It 
reads:  "The  president  has  deemed  it  best  for  the  public  interests  to  invest  the 
military  officer  commanding  with  the  direction  of  the  operations  on  land, 
and  with  the  administrative  functions  of  government  over  the  people  and 
territory  occupied  by  us.  You  will  relinquish  to  Colonel  Mason  or  to  General 
Kearney,  if  the  latter  shall  arrive  before  you  have  done  so,  the  entire  control 
over  these  matters  and  turn  over  to  him  all  papers  necessary  to  the  per- 
formance of  his  duties"  (ct.  martial,  Sl-53).  It  would  be  interesting  to 
know  if  this  is  JCF's  first  information  that  Kearny  was  to  have  supreme 
command  in  the  territory,  or  if  Shubrick's  letter  of  22  Feb.  had  stated  clearly 
the  nature  of  these  instructions  from  Washington.  If  not,  this  is  a  very 
cursory  and  obscure  way  of  informing  JCF  that  a  bearer  of  new  instructions 


had  arrived  in  California  and  that  JCF  would  be  foolish  to  persist  in  his 
defiance  of  Kearny.  True,  these  instructions  were  sent  by  the  Navy  Depart- 
ment before  the  receipt  of  Stockton's  letters  of  the  previous  August  and 
September  with  news  of  the  conquest  of  California  and  his  plans  for  the 
establishment  of  a  civil  government. 

Before  the  naval  courier  reached  Shubrick  in  Monterey,  Kearny  had  re- 
ceived from  Col.  Richard  B.  Mason  on  13  Feb.  in  San  Francisco  a  copy  of  the 
Navy  Department's  dispatch  plus  one  from  Winfield  Scott,  general-in-chief 
of  the  Army.  Dated  3  Nov.  1846,  Scott's  dispatch  instructed  Kearny  to 
muster  the  California  Volunteers,  organized  by  Stockton,  into  the  Army  and 
reiterated  that  the  senior  officer  of  the  land  forces  was  to  be  the  governor  of 
the  province  (ct.  martial,  48-50).  But  Kearny  did  not  inform  JCF  of  the 
new  orders.  Later,  when  he  was  cross-examined  in  Washington  about  his 
failure  to  do  so,  he  stated  that  he  was  not  in  the  habit  of  communicating  to 
his  juniors  the  instructions  he  received  unless  required  to  do  so  (ct.  martial, 
102).  Sometime  in  March  Stockton  received  from  Commodore  Biddle  the 
instructions  of  5  Nov.  1846  from  the  Navy  Department,  but  he  did  not 
furnish  JCF  with  a  copy  of  these  instructions  (ct.  martial,  200). 

Although  Kearny  and  Stockton  never  officially  communicated  the  new  in- 
structions to  JCF,  he  must  have  known  their  nature  after  receiving  this  23 
Feb.  1847  letter  from  Shubrick,  as  well  as  newspaper  reports  of  new  instruc- 
tions, sometime  in  early  March.  On  5  March  Gillespie  wrote  Larkin,  "Fre- 
mont received  some  [newspapers]  by  the  courier  who  came  down  lately  but 
he  has  not  favored  our  eyes  with  a  sight  of  them"  (larkin,  6:37-38).  The 
California  Star  of  Yerba  Buena,  20  Feb.,  reported  that  Kearny  had  received 
new  instructions  and  additional  powers  from  Washington.  Perhaps  this 
issue  of  the  Star  had  not  reached  JCF  in  Los  Angeles  when  Gillespie  wrote — 
or  perhaps  it  had,  and  this  was  why  JCF  was  keeping  the  papers  from  his 
colleagues.  Gillespie  noted  that  "everything  is  very  quiet  &  has  the  appear- 
ance of  remaining  so;  indeed,  the  policy  adopted  by  Fremont,  should  secure 
it.  .  .  ."  He  also  chided  Larkin:  "You  people  in  Monterey,  I  fear,  think  too 
much  of  the  rising  sun  [i.e.,  Kearny].  Take  care  it  may  be  eclipsed,  and  you 
will  be  all  lost  in  the  fog!" 

It  seems  almost  certain,  then,  that  JCF  did  know  by  early  March  of  the 
new  instructions  to  the  Navy  and  Army,  but  he  also  believed  that  even  later 
instructions  were  on  the  way  to  California.  He  doubted  very  much  that 
President  Polk,  once  he  was  informed  of  the  conquest  of  California  by 
Stockton  and  JCF,  would  refuse  to  approve  Stockton's  appointing  him  as 
governor.  On  1  March  Larkin  wrote  W.  D.  M.  Howard,  "He  [JCF]  yet 
expects  by  Secretary  Norris  the  approval  of  appointment  as  Governor  by  Mr. 
Polk"  (larkin,  6:32-33).  And  Gillespie,  piqued  over  Shubrick's  and  Kearny's 
refusal  to  honor  the  financial  commitments  of  officers  of  the  California  Bat- 
talion, wrote  Larkin,  "The  movements  at  your  place  [Monterey]  certainly 
looked  very  much  like  the  desertion  of  those  in  the  country,  whom  you  know 
have  done  the  work.  .  .  .  Shubrick  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  acts  of 
Commo.  Stockton  previous  to  his  arrival,  and  Cien'l.  Kearney  had  less,  until 
he  received  the  last  instructions;  and  then  courtesy  would  have  dictated  a 
different  procedure,  had  he  not  been  actuated  by  personal  motives,  and  a 
feeling  of  importance.  However,  let  it  all  go  for  what  it  is  worth.  The  sequel 
will  show  whether  the  Government  will  sustain  such  a  course  as  has  been 
pursued  against  the  officers,  sent  to  this  country  before  those  last  comers  were 
thought  of.  The  Army  Gents  may  think  they  have  caught  the  hare,  but  I 

doubt  much  if  they  will  hold  it"   (Gillespie  to  Larkin,  "Angeles,"   1   April 
1847,  LARKIN,  6:82-83). 

3.  Richard  B.  Mason  wrote  Henry  S.  Turner  that  JCF  had  said  he  paid  no 
attention  to  this  communication  of  Shubrick's  in  regard  to  the  naval  officers 
on  duty  with  the  California  Battalion,  "and  did  not  communicate  it  to  the 
officers  concerned,  because  it  did  not  reach  him  through  Com.  Stockton,  by 
whose  orders  the  officers  were  put  on  duty  with  the  Battalion  and  on  account 
of  the  manner  and  want  of  courtesy  on  the  part  of  Commodore  Shubrick  in 
communications  with  him  on  the  subject"  (Mason  to  Turner,  10  April  1847, 
enclosure  D  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  3  May  1847,  DNA-94,  LR,  K-202  1847, 
f/w  K-209  1846). 

148.   Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Fremont 

Head  Qrs.  10th  Military  Department 
Monterey  (U.C.)  March  1st.  1847 

By  Dept.  Orders  No.  2  of  this  date,  (which  will  be  handed  to  you 
by  Capt.  Turner  1st  Dragoons  A.A.A.  GenI  for  my  Command)  you 
will  see  that  certain  duties  are  there  required  of  you  as  Commander 
of  the  Battalion  of  California  Volunteers.^ 

In  addition  to  the  duties  above  referred  to,  I  have  now  to  direct 
that  you  will  bring  with  you,  &  with  as  little  delay  as  possible  all  the 
Archives  &  Public  Documents  &  Papers  which  may  be  subject  to 
your  Control  &  which  appertain  to  the  Government  of  California, 
that  I  may  receive  them  from  your  hands  at  this  Place,  the  Capitol 
of  the  Territory. 

I  have  directions  from  the  Genl.  in  chief,  not  to  detain  you  in  this 
Country  against  your  wishes,  a  moment  longer  than  the  necessities 
of  the  service  may  require  &  you  will  be  at  liberty  to  leave  here, 
after  you  have  complied  with  these  instructions  &  those  in  the 
"Orders"  referred  to.  Very  Respectfully  Your  Obdt.  Servt. 

(Signed)  S.  W.  Kearny 
Brig.  Genl.  &  Governor  of  California 



Lt.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 

Regt.  of  Mounted  Riflemen 

Commdg.  Battn.  of  Califa.  Vols. 

Ciudad  de  los  Angeles 

Copy  enclosed  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  15  March  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-166  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Endorsed.  Also  in  bigelow,  200-201.  This 
letter  to  JCF  and  departmental  orders  no.  2  were  carried  to  Los  Angeles  by 
Capt.  Henry  S.  Turner  after  Kearny's  return  to  Monterey  from  a  reconnais- 
sance of  the  Bay  of  San  Francisco.  There,  as  noted  in  Doc.  No.  147,  n.  2, 
Kearny  had  received  instructions  from  Washington  dated  3  and  5  Nov. 
1846  which,  without  question,  gave  him  supreme  authority  in  California. 
Turner  left  Monterey  on  2  March  and  delivered  orders  no.  2  to  JCF  in  Los 
Angeles  on  11  March  (ct.  martial,  148).  The  following  day  he  had  an  inter- 
view with  JCF,  who,  he  said,  informed  him  that  he  would  proceed  the  next 
day  to  the  Mission  San  Gabriel  to  execute  the  order  (ct.  martial,  148).  JCF 
apparently  did  not  go  personally  but  sent  the  adjutant  of  the  battalion,  Wil- 
liam N.  Loker,  who  was  unsuccessful  in  mustering  members  of  the  California 
Battalion  into  service  (ct.  martial,  134). 

To  his  wife,  Julia,  Turner  had  already  written  that  Kearny  had  not  dis- 
played "his  usual  firmness  and  decision  of  character  in  dealing  with  Fremont" 
and  attributed  this  temporizing  course  to  fear  of  offending  Benton.  "Were  I 
to  behave  as  Fremont  has  done  he  would  cause  me  to  be  put  in  irons,  and 
would  pursue  me  with  a  bitterness  that  would  drive  me  to  desperation.  Yet 
this  man  is  permitted  to  escape  without  a  murmur.  He  says  that  he  will 
prefer  charges  against  Fremont  and  cause  him  to  be  tried,  but  I  do  not  believe 
it.  I  think  he  will  do  nothing  calculated  to  give  displeasure  to  Col.  Benton" 
(Turner  to  Julia  Turner,  22  Feb.  1847,  turner,  154-59). 

1.  See  Doc.  No.  149. 

149.  10th  Military  Department  Orders  No.  2 

Hd.  Qrs.  10th  Military  Dept. 
Monterey,  March  1,  1847 
Orders  No.  2 

I  With  a  view  to  regular  payment,  it  is  necessary  that  the  Bat- 
talion of  California  Volunteers,  now,  under  the  command  of  Lt.  Col. 
Fremont,  of  the  Army  and  Stationed  at  the  Ciudad  de  los  Angeles, 
if  not  originally  mustered  under  the  law  of  May  13  and  the  supple- 
mental law  of  June  18,  1846,  should  now  be  mustered  into  service 
under  those  laws.  This  muster  will  be  made  at  once  by  Lt.  Col.  Fre- 
mont. Should  any  men  of  that  Battalion  be  unwilling  to  continue  in 
service  under  the  above  named  laws,  they  will  be  conducted  by  Lt. 


Col.  Fremont  to  Yerba  Buena  via  Monterey,  and  be  there  discharged. 

II  Lt.  Gillespie  of  the  Marines  now  serving  with  the  Battalion  of 
California  Volunteers  is  relieved  from  that  duty,  he  will  repair  to 
Washington  City,  and  will  report  himself  to  the  Commanding  of- 
ficer of  his  Corps. 

III  Lieut.  Col.  P.  S.  Cooke^  now  in  Command  of  the  Mormon 
Battalion,  is  entrusted  with  the  supervision  of  the  Southern  Mil. 
District,  for  the  protection  and  defence  of  which  he  will  make  the 
necessary  provision,  posting  his  command  (to  consist  of  Company 
C.  1st  Dragoons,  the  Mormon  Battalion,  and  the  California  Volun- 
teers) at  such  places,  as  he  may  deem  most  eligible. 

IV  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cooke  will  designate  an  officer  to  receive 
all  public  property  which  the  senior  naval  officer,  at  San  Diego,  may 
be  caused  to  be  turned  over. 

V  Major  Swords,^  quartermaster,  and  Paymaster  Cloud,^  will 
repair  to  head-quarters,  at  Monterey,  and  report  themselves  to  the 
general  commanding. 

By  order  of  Brig.  Genl.  S.  W.  Kearny. 

H.  S.  Turner 
Capt.  A.A.A.  Genl. 

Copied  for  Adj.  Genl.,  Lt.  Col.  Fremont  &  Cooke  [and]  of  Par.  2 
for  Com.  of  Marine  Corps  at  Washington. 

DS  ('DNA-393,  Order  Book,  10th  Military  District,  vol.  8,  Feb.-Dec.  1847). 

1.  Virginian  Philip  St.  Ceorge  Cooke  (1809-95),  one  of  the  youngest  men 
ever  to  graduate  from  West  Point,  would  devote  forty-six  years  of  his  life  to 
the  Army.  He  held  a  captaincy  in  the  1st  U.S.  Dragoons  (as  well  as  a  com- 
mission, dating  from  16  Feb.  1847,  as  a  major  in  the  2nd  Dragoons),  but  he 
had  really  come  to  California  as  a  lieutenant  colonel  in  command  of  the 
Mormon  Battalion.  The  battalion  arrived  in  San  Diego  on  29  Jan.  1847,  and 
Kearny  sent  it  to  the  Mission  San  Luis  Rey,  fifty-three  miles  from  San  Diego, 
on  the  road  to  Los  Angeles.  Cooke's  journal  of  his  epic  and  arduous  overland 
march  was  published  by  the  government  in  1849  (Senate  Doc.  2,  31st  Cong., 
spec,  sess.,  Serial  547)  and  was  republished  by  the  author  in  1878  (with 
additions)  under  the  title  The  Conquest  of  New  Mexico  and  California.  But 
Cooke's  greatest  contribution  to  military  history  was  a  manual,  the  first  writ- 
ten on  cavalry  field  tactics.  For  a  biography  of  Cooke,  see  young.  For  Kearny's 
letter  to  Cooke,  which  Turner  carried  south,  see  ct.  martial,  140-41. 

2.  Maj.  Thomas  B.  Swords  (ca.  1807-86)  was  chief  quartermaster  of  the 
Army  of  the  West,  and  returned  east  with  Kearny  in  the  summer  of  1847. 
He  was  breveted  brigadier  general  and  major  general  for  his  services  in  the 
Quartermaster  Department  during  the  Civil  War. 

3.  Paymaster  Jeremiah  H.  Cloud  had  come  to  California  with  the  Mormon 
Battalion.  He  died  at  Sutter's  Fort  on  4  Aug.  1847  after  a  fall  from  a  horse. 


ISO.  Shubrick-Kcarny  Circular 

[1  March  1847] 


That  the  President  of  the  Lhiitcd  States,  desirous  to  ijive  and  secure 
to  the  People  of  California  a  share  of  the  go«-xi  government  and 
happv  civil  organization  enjoved  bv  the  People  of  the  United  States, 
and  to  protect  them  at  the  same  time,  from  the  attacks  of  foreign 
foes,  and  from  internal  commotions, — has  invested  the  undersigned 
with  separate  and  distinct  powers,  civil  and  militarv;  a  cordial  co- 
operation in  the  exercise  of  which,  it  is  hoped  and  believed  will  have 
the  happv  results  desired. 

To  the  Commander-in-Chief  of  the  Naval  Fonres,  the  President 
has  assigned  the  regulation  of  the  import  trade, — the  conditions  on 
which  vessels  of  all  nations,  our  own  as  well  as  forei^ri,  mav  be  ad- 
mitted  into  the  ports  of  the  Territorv,  and  the  establishment  of  all 
Port  Rcijulations. 

To  the  Commandinvr  MUitarv  Officer,  the  President  has  assiiUKxi 
the  direction  of  the  operations  on  land,  at\d  has  invcstevi  him  with 
administrative  functions  of  government  over  the  People  and  IVrri 
torv  tKXupied  by  the  forces  of  the  Ihiitcvl  States. 

Done  at  Montfrky,  Capital  of  California,  this  Hrst  dav  of  March, 
A.  D.  1847. 

\V.  Bkanforp  Shi  HRicK. 

Commander  in  Chief  of  the  Naval  Forces 

S.  W.  Kkaknv,  Hriij.  Cien'l.  V.  S.  A.  and  Covcrnor  of  California 

Printed  cupv  Uumd  m  Kcarnv  to  K.  loucs,  l^^  NUuvh  IS47  (,nNA'J4.  l.K. 
K  Ibb  1847.  t/w  K  JO^  1846).  A  copy  was  sent  south  with  Turner  to  ICF 
(cT.  MARTIAL,  102).  The  circuUiT  appeared  in  the  i\ilifomiu  Star  on  6  Marvh 
1847  and  For  several  suecessive  weeks.  Ke.uiw  .ind  Shuhiiek  scUvtevl  Moitterev 
as  the  teni[>otarv  eafntal. 

151.  Stephen  Watts  Kearny's  Proclamation 

[1  March  1847] 


The  President  of  the  United  States  having  instructed  the  under- 
signed to  take  charge  of  the  civil  government  of  California,  he  enters 
upon  his  duties  w^ith  an  ardent  desire  to  promote  as  far  as  he  is  able, 
the  interests  of  the  country  and  the  welfare  of  its  inhabitants. 

The  undersigned  has  instructions  from  the  President  to  respect 
and  protect  the  religious  institutions  of  California,  and  to  see  that  the 
religious  rights  of  the  People  are  in  the  amplest  manner  preserved 
to  them,  the  constitution  of  the  United  States  allowing  every  man  to 
worship  his  Creator  in  such  a  manner  as  his  own  conscience  may 
dictate  to  him. 

The  undersigned  is  also  instructed  to  protect  the  persons  and  prop- 
erty of  the  quiet  and  peaceable  inhabitants  of  the  country  against  all 
or  any  of  their  enemies,  whether  from  abroad  or  at  home;  and  when 
he  now  assures  the  Californians  that  it  will  be  his  duty  and  his  plea- 
sure to  comply  with  those  instructions,  he  calls  upon  them  all  to 
exert  themselves  in  preserving  order  and  tranquility,  in  promoting 
harmony  and  concord,  and  in  maintaining  the  authority  and  the 
efficiency  of  the  laws. 

It  is  the  wish  and  design  of  the  United  States  to  provide  for  Cali- 
fornia with  the  least  possible  delay,  a  free  Government  similar  to 
those  in  her  other  Territories,  and  the  people  will  soon  be  called 
upon  to  exercise  their  rights  as  freemen  in  electing  their  own  Repre- 
sentatives, to  make  such  laws  as  may  be  deemed  best  for  their  interest 
and  welfare.  But  until  this  can  be  done,  the  laws  now  in  existence 
and  not  in  conflict  with  the  constitution  of  the  U.  States,  will  be  con- 
tinued until  changed  by  competent  authority;  and  those  persons 
who  hold  office,  will  continue  in  the  same  for  the  present,  provided 
they  swear  to  support  the  constitution  and  to  faithfully  perform  their 

The  undersigned  hereby  absolves  all  the  inhabitants  of  California 
from  any  further  allegiance  to  the  Republic  of  Mexico,  and  will  con- 
sider them  as  citizens  of  the  United  States;  those  who  remain  quiet 
and  peaceable  will  be  respected  in  their  rights  and  protected  in 


them ;  should  any  take  up  arms  against,  or  oppose  the  Government  of 
the  Territory,  or  instigate  others  to  do  so,  they  will  be  considered 
as  enemies  and  treated  accordingly. 

When  Mexico  forced  a  war  upon  the  United  States,  time  did  not 
permit  the  latter  to  invite  the  Californians  as  friends  to  join  her  stan- 
dard, but  compelled  her  to  take  possession  of  the  country  to  prevent 
any  European  Powers  from  seizing  upon  it,  and  in  doing  so,  some 
excesses  and  unauthorized  acts  were  no  doubt  committed  by  persons 
employed  in  the  service  of  the  United  States,  by  which  a  few  of  the 
inhabitants  have  met  with  a  loss  of  property;  such  losses  will  be  duly 
investigated,  and  those  entitled  to  remuneration  will  receive  it. 

California  has  for  many  years  suffered  greatly  from  domestic  trou- 
bles; civil  wars  have  been  the  poisoned  fountains  which  have  sent 
forth  trouble  and  pestilence  over  her  beautiful  land.  Now  these 
fountains  are  dried  up;  the  Star  Spangled  Banner  floats  over  Cali- 
fornia, and  as  long  as  the  sun  continues  to  shine  upon  her,  so  long 
will  it  float  there,  over  the  natives  of  the  land,  as  well  as  others  who 
have  found  a  home  in  her  bosom;  and  under  it,  agriculture  must 
improve  and  the  arts  and  sciences  flourish,  as  seed  in  a  rich  and 
fertile  soil. 

The  Americans  and  Californians  are  now  but  one  People;  let  us 
cherish  one  wish,  one  hope,  and  let  that  be  for  the  peace  and  quiet  of 
our  country.  Let  us  as  a  Band  of  Brothers  unite  and  emulate  each 
other  in  our  exertions  to  benefit  and  improve  this  our  beautiful,  and 
which  soon  must  be  our  happy  and  prosperous  home. 

Done  at  Monterey,  Capital  of  California,  this  first  day  of  March, 
A.  D.  1847,  and  in  the  71st  year  of  Independence  of  the  United  States. 

S.  W.  Kearny,  Brig.  Gen. 
U.  S.  A.  and  Governor  of  California 

Printed  copy,  in  English  and  Spanish,  enclosed  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  15 
March  1847  (DNA-94,  LR,  K-166  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  The  proclamation 
was  actually  issued  on  4  March,  after  the  departure  of  Turner  for  the  south, 
but  was  back-dated  to  1  March.  The  California  Star,  20  March  1847  (and  for 
many  weeks  thereafter),  printed  it  in  English  and  Spanish. 

1.  Article  3  of  the  Articles  of  Capitulation  had  guaranteed  that  no  Cali- 
fornian  or  Mexican  citizen  should  be  compelled  to  take  the  oath  of  allegiance, 
but  this  provision  made  an  oath  mandatory  for  officeholders. 


152.  Fremont  to  Pierson  B.  Reading 

[2  March  1847] 

Know  all  men  by  these  Presents,  that  I,  J.  C.  Fremont,  Governor  of 
the  Territory  of  California,  and  in  virtue  thereof  legal  representative 
of  the  United  States  of  North  America,  clothed  with  general  and  ex- 
tensive powers,  in  consideration  of  the  necessity  of  having  an  agent 
to  represent  this  integral  part  of  the  United  States  of  North  America 
in  foreign  parts  as  well  as  the  entire  confidence  that  I  feel  and  repose 
in  the  favorable  disposition,  integrity,  capacity  and  business  habits  of 
Major  Pearson  [Pierson]  B.  Reading,  United  States  Paymaster  for 
the  United  States  troops  in  California,  do  surely  constitute,  ordain 
and  appoint  him  my  true  and  special  agent  and  attorney  to  proceed 
with  blank  bonds  signed  by  myself  in  my  fiduciary  character  and 
countersigned  by  William  H.  Russell,  Secretary  of  State,  to  Mazat- 
lan,  Lima,  or  any  other  place  that  he  may  elect  to  negotiate  certain 
loans  for  the  use  and  benefit  of  the  United  States.  It  is  the  intention 
of  this  instrument  or  letter  of  attorney  to  invest  my  said  agent 
Major  Pearson  B.  Reading  with  power  fully  to  regulate  the  rates  of 
interest,  fill  up  the  dates  which  are  left  blank  in  the  bonds  and  do 
everything  necessary  to  be  done  towards  accomplishing  the  loans  for 
the  amounts  respectively  set  forth  in  the  bonds.  I  further  more 
authorize  my  said  agent  to  charter  or  instruct  the  charter  of  the 
barque  Guipuzcoana  and  to  employ  the  services  of  such  agent  or 
agents  as  my  aforesaid  agent  may  deem  necessary  to  enable  him  to 
effect  the  loans  or  object  of  his  mission,  hereby  pledging  and  binding 
myself  in  my  fiduciary  character  and  as  such  the  faith  and  honor  of 
the  Government  of  the  United  States  of  North  America  to  sanction, 
ratify  and  confirm  each  and  every  one  of  his  said  acts.  In  faith 
whereof  I  have  hereunto  set  my  hand  and  caused  the  seal  of  the 
Territory  of  California  to  be  affixed  this  second  day  of  March  A.  D. 
1847,  at  the  Ciudad  de  los  Angeles,  Capital  of  California. 

J,  C.  Fremont, 
Governor  of  California 

Wm.  H.  Russell 
Secretary  of  State 

LS,  RC  (C). 


153.  Contract  for  Purchase  of  Alcatraz  Island 

[Los  Angeles] 
[2  March  1847] 

In  consideration  of  Francis  Temple  having  conveyed  to  the  United 
States  of  North  America  a  certain  Island  commonly  called  White  or 
Bird  [Alcatraz]  Island  situated  near  the  mouth  of  San  Francisco 
Bay,  I,  J.  C.  Fremont  Governor  of  California,  and  in  virtue  of  my 
office  as  aforesaid  hereby  oblige  and  bind  myself  as  the  legal  repre- 
sentative of  the  United  States  and  my  successor  in  office  to  pay  the 
said  Francis  Temple,  his  heirs  or  assigns  the  sum  of  five  thousand 
dollars  (5000)  to  be  paid  at  as  early  a  day  as  possible  after  the  receipt 
of  funds  from  the  United  States/ 

In  witness  whereof  I  have  hereunto  set  my  hand  and  have  caused 
the  seal  of  the  territory  of  California  to  be  affixed  at  the  Ciudad  de 
Los  Angeles  the  capital  of  California  this  2  day  of  March  A.D.  1847. 

(Signed)  J.  C.  Fremont 
Gov.  of  California 

Wm.  H.  Russell 
Secty  of  State 

I  hereby  certify  the  above  to  be  a  true  copy  of  the  original  docu- 
ment now  in  the  hands  of  Mr.  Temple  a  resident  of  this  place. 

J.  D.  Stevenson 
Col.  7  Regt. 
Pueblo  de  los  Angeles 
13  May  1847 

I  certify  that  on  the  2d  day  of  March  1847  I  delivered  to  Gov.  J.  C. 
Fremont  the  Title  to  the  above  mentioned  Island. 

Ciudad  de  los  Angeles  May  13th  1847 

Francis  Temple 

Enclosure  16  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94.  LR,  K-217 
1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 

1.  Many  years  later  JBF  wrote  an  account  of  the  circumstances  surrounding 
the  purchase,  probably  in  an  attempt  to  justify  her  husband's  actions.  His 
attention  had  first  been  called  to  the  military  importance  of  the  island  by 
reading  in  Vancouver's  Voyages  that  "a  true  course  for  a  vessel  entering  the 
harbor   from   seaward,   was   to  bring   Fort    Point    into   a    line    with    Alcatraz 


Island."  On  hearing  that  the  French  consul  wished  to  acquire  it,  JCF  made 
overtures  on  behalf  of  the  United  States  to  the  owner,  Temple,  who  had  ap- 
parently acquired  it  from  William  Workman.  Workman  in  turn  had  received 
it  "in  the  regular  and  usual  form,  under  a  special  decree  of  the  Mexican 
Government  by  Don  Pio  Pico."  Temple,  fearful  that  the  United  States  might 
not  pay,  refused  to  sign  the  contract  until  JCF  executed  his  personal  bond. 
The  United  States  did,  indeed,  decline  to  recognize  the  purchase,  and 
eventually  JCF  paid  through  Simon  Stevens  of  New  York  the  $5,000  plus 
interest  to  the  holder  of  the  bond,  and  thus  claimed  to  be  the  owner  of  the 
island.  However,  in  1858  the  U.S.  government  forcibly  took  possession,  and 
JCF's  1859  legal  action  to  eject  the  officer  in  charge  of  fortifying  the  island 
could  not  be  prosecuted  without  the  consent  of  Congress,  which  was  refused 
("Great  Events  during  the  Life  of  Major  General  John  C.  Fremont,"  pp.  29- 
31,  CU-B;  California  Claims,  Senate  Report  75,  p.  16,  30th  Cong.,  1st  sess.. 
Serial  512). 

154.  Fremont  to  Eulogio  de  Cells,  3  March  1847 

[See  Mason  to  Jones,  9  Oct.  1847,  Doc.  No.  231.] 

155.  Fremont  to  Archibald  H.  Gillespie 

Government  House 
5th  March  1847 

Circumstances  having  caused  me  to  postpone  my  intention  of 
leaving  the  Capital  at  present  you  will  therefore  consider  all  the  or- 
ders predicated  on  that  idea  recalled  by  reason  of  their  inapplicability, 
and  you  w^ill  proceed  in  the  exercise  of  your  usual  and  ordinary 
duties,  as  if  no  such  special  orders  had  been  issued.  Very  respectfully 
Your  obt.  servt. 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  of  California 

Majr.  A.  H.  Gillespie 
California  Battn. 
U.  S.  Forces 


LS,  RC  (CLU — Gillespie  Papers).  Addressed.  Endorsed:  "Countermand 
of  order  March  3,  1847."  The  body  of  the  letter  is  in  Russell's  hand,  the 
signature  is  JCF's.  The  3  March  1847  order  has  not  been  found. 

156.  Fremont's  Circular 

[Los  Angeles] 
[9  March  1847] 

to  all  to  whom  these  presents  shall  come 


Know  ye  that  I  J.  C.  Fremont  Governor  of  California,  and  in  vir- 
tue thereof  the  legal  representative  of  all  the  various  interests  of  the 
United  States  on  the  coast  of  said  Territory  of  California,  and  in 
pursuance  of  a  custom  of  precedent  established  by  my  predecessor  in 
office  Governor  R.  F.  Stockton,  do  by  these  presents  give  full  au- 
thority and  permission  to  the  Brig  Primavera,  William  Stenner^ 
Master  to  trade  on  any  portion  of  the  coast  of  California  on  terms, 
and  with  the  same  immunities  as  merchant  vessels  of  the  United 

Said  Brig  Primavera"  is  sailing  under  Mexican  colours,  but  is 
owned  by  worthy,  and  good  citizens  residents  of  California.  In  testi- 
mony whereof  I  have  hereunto  set  my  hand,  and  have  caused  the 
seal  of  California  to  be  affixed  at  the  Ciudad  de  los  Angeles  the 
Capitol  of  California  this  9th  day  of  March  A.  D.  1847. 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  of  California 

Wm.  H.  Russell 
Sec.  of  State 

Copy  (DNA-393,  10th  Military  Department,  Fremont  Circular).  Endorsed. 

1.  This  may  have  been  the  same  William  Stenner,  a  native  of  Massachusetts, 
who  had  come  to  California  in  1831  as  a  mate  aboard  the  Ayacucho.  For  two 
years  he  had  been  in  charge  of  the  hide  houses  at  San  Diego  (pioneer 

2.  The  Primavera  was  a  Mexican  brig  captured  the  previous  August  by  the 
Cyane  while  sailing  from  San  Diego  to  San  Pedro. 


157.  Philip  St.  George  Cooke  to  Fremont 

Hd.  Qrs.  South.  Mil.  Dist. 
San  Luis  Rey,  14  March  1847 

I  request  you  to  send  me  information  of  the  number  of  men  of  the 
BattaHon  of  California  Volunteers  that  have  been  mustered  into  ser- 
vice agreeably  to  10th  Mil.  Dept.  Order  No.  2;  and  w^hat  protection 
will  be  afforded  to  the  Artillery  and  Ordnance  stores  at  San  Gabriel. 

If  possibly,  none  of  the  Battalion  have  consented  to  be  regularly 
mustered  and  continued  in  service,  I  suggest  the  necessity  of  delaying 
for  a  few  days,  until  they  shall  be  relieved,  the  commencement  of 
their  march  for  Yerba  Buena.  The  importance  of  speedy  informa- 
tion on  these  points  will  be  evident.  Very  respectfully  Yr.  obt.  servant, 

(Signed)  P.  St.  Geo.  Cooke 
Lt.  Col.  Comdg. 
To  Lt.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 

or  Officer  comdg.  the  Battn.  California  Volunteers, 
Ciudad  de  los  Angeles. 

Copy  of  enclosure  H  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones.  3  May  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-202  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  After  conferring  with  JCF  in  Los  Angeles, 
Turner  went  on  to  the  Mission  San  Luis  Rey  with  the  order  placing  Cooke  in 
command  of  the  southern  half  of  California  (cooke,  284).  Cooke  then  sent 
this  letter  of  inquiry  by  a  courier  who  reached  JCF's  headquarters  in  Los 
Angeles  on  16  March  (see  Doc.  No.  160). 

158.   Fremont  to  Richard  Owens 

Ciudad  de  los  Angeles 
15th  March  1847 

In  the  performance  of  a  portion  of  my  official  duties,  it  become 
necessary  that  I  should  visit  in  person  on  the  Northern  District  of 
the  Territory,  where  I  shall  probably  be  detained  some  15  or  20 
days,  and  the  better  to  possess  you  of  my  views  in  my  absence,  and 


to  render  your  authority  in  the  meantime  undoubted,  I  have  con- 
sidered it  proper  to  issue  the  following  orders. 

1st.  You  will  continue  with  the  entire  Battalion  at  San  Gabriel, 
observing  order,  vigilance,  and  exercising  as  much  discipline  as  in 
your  discretion  can  be  prudently  enforced. 

2d.  You  will  make  no  war  whatever  from  San  Gabriel  in  my  ab- 
sence unless  to  repel  an  actual  invasion,  or  obey  the  order  of  any  offi- 
cer that  does  not  emanate  from  me. 

3d.  You  will  take  the  best  possible  care  of  the  public  arms,  and 
munitions  belonging  to  the  Command,  and  turn  them  over  to  no 
Corps  without  my  special  order. 

4th.  The  general  police  of  the  garrison  and  strict  regard  to  the 
public  interest  will  of  course  as  Comdt.  ad.  interim,  constantly  en- 
gage your  best  efforts.  Very  Respectfully  Your  Obdt.  Servt. 

(Signed)  J.  C.  Fremont 
Lieut.  Col.  U.  S.  Army 
Comdt.  of  California  Battalion 

Capt.  Richard  Owens 
Actg  Comdt.  of  Cal.  Battalion. 

Copy  of  enclosure  F.  no.  1,  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  3  May  1847  (DNA-94, 
LR,  K-202  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Acting  on  these  orders,  Owens  refused  to 
deliver  up  the  ordnance  to  Cooke,  who  rode  to  the  Mission  San  Gabriel 
on  24  March  in  an  effort  to  persuade  him  to  do  so  or  to  permit  Midshipman 
John  K.  Wilson,  acting  as  captain  of  artillery  and  ordnance  in  the  California 
Battalion,  to  comply  with  Cooke's  pointed  order  to  turn  over  the  ordnance 
and  ordnance  stores  to  a  subordinate.  These  refusals  caused  Cooke  to  write 
on  25  March  to  Capt.  Henry  S.  Turner  in  Monterey,  "My  God!  to  think  of 
a  howitzer  brought  over  the  deserts  with  so  much  faithful  labour  by  the 
Dragoons:  the  howitzer  with  which  they  have  four  times  fought  the  enemy, 
&  brought  here  to  the  rescue  of  Lt.  Col.  Fremont  &  his  volunteers  to  be 
refused  to  them  by  this  Lt.  Col.  Fremont,  and  in  defiance  of  the  orders  of 
his  (leneral: — I  denounce  this  treason,  or  this  mutiny  which  jeopardizes  the 
safety  of  the  Country,  and  defies  me  in  my  legal  command  and  duties!  by 
men,  too,  who  report  and  say  they  believe  that  the  enemy  approaches  from 
without  &  are  about  to  rise  in  arms  around  us"  (see  copy  F  in  Kearny  to 
Jones,  3  May  1847,  same  file). 


159.  Israel  Brockman  to  Fremont 

City  of  Angels 
March  15th.  1847 
To  your  excellency  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 

I  am  under  the  necessity  of  applying  to  you  for  my  immediate 
discharge  from  the  service.  It  is  the  first  time  I  have  asked  it  and  I 
trust  you  will  grant  it  for  the  reason  Mr.  Stanley,  deceased/  and  my- 
self have  or  own  a  waggon  and  team  in  co-partnership  beside  other 
property  which  Mr.  Craig,  Stanley's  Administrator,  cannot  dispose 
of  without  my  consent.  As  Mr.  Craig  is  going  to  the  States  the  ensu- 
ing season  and  has  Stanley's  debts  to  collect  and  take  them  home  to 
his  family  I  think  it  very  necessary  that  I  should  immediately  repair 
to  the  upper  country  to  see  to  the  disposal  of  Mr.  Stanley's  property 
which  cannot  be  done  otherwise.^  I  hope  my  anxiety  will  be  my  ex- 
cuse. Your  most  obent., 

Israel  Brockman 

ALS,  RC  (Society  of  California  Pioneers — Jacob  Rink  Snyder  Collection). 
Addressed,  "To  his  excellency  Lieut.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont  present  Guipuscuana 
[Joveti  Guipuzcoana]."  The  outside  of  the  letter  bears  the  names  of  Israel 
Brockman,  G.  S.  Carter,  and  D.  Manuel  Requena. 

Israel  Brockman  and  the  two  men  mentioned  in  the  body  of  the  letter, 
John  Craig  and  Larkin  Stanley,  were  three  of  an  eight-man  party  which 
traveled  to  California  in  1846.  All  joined  Company  D  of  the  California  Bat- 
talion, with  Brockman  becoming  a  sergeant.  G.  S.  Carter  was  also  a  sergeant 
in  Company  D.  Requena  (ca.  1804-76)  was  a  native  of  Yucatan.  He  had 
come  to  California  in  1835  to  trade  and  remained  in  Los  Angeles  until  his 
death,  except  for  a  brief  time  when  he  retired  across  the  Mexican  frontier 
for  political  reasons.  He  was  a  citizen  of  excellent  standing  and  much  local 
influence  (pioneer  register). 

1.  Larkin  Stanley  died  on  12  Dec.  1846  when  the  California  Battalion  was 
nearing  Mission  San  Luis  Obispo.  His  death  is  described  by  bryant,  13 
Dec.  1846,  and  by  Craig  in  a  4  Oct.  1847  letter  to  a  friend  in  morgan, 

2.  Craig  and  his  party  left  Sutter's  on  22  May  1847  (new  Helvetia  diary). 


160.  William  H.  Russell  to  Philip  St.  George  Cooke 


16th  March  1847 

I  am  instructed  by  Govr.  Fremont  to  acknowledge  a  few  moments 
since  the  receipt  of  your  communication  of  the  14th  Inst,  and  to  say 
in  reply  that  the  Vols,  constituting  the  California  Battn,  decline 
without  an  individual  exception  to  be  mustered  into  the  U.  S.  service 
conformable  to  order  No.  2  of  the  10th  Mil.  Dept.  referred  to  by 

The  Govr.  considers  it  unsafe  at  this  time,  when  rumor  is  rife  with 
a  threatened  insurrection  to  discharge  the  Battn.  and  will  decline  do- 
ing so,  and  whilst  they  remain  in  service,  he  regards  this  force  quite 
sufficient  for  the  protection  of  the  artillery  and  ordnance  stores  at  the 
mission  of  San  Gabriel.  I  am  with  considerations  of  respect  Your 
obt.  servt. 

Wm.  H.  Russell 
Sec  of  State 

P.  St.  Geo.  Cooke 
Lieut  Col.  Comdg. 
Mission  San  Luis  Rey 

ALS,  RC,  enclosure  8  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-217  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Endorsed:  "Reed,  at  2  P.M.  17  March  1847." 
This  16  March  letter  of  Russell's  arrived  at  the  Mission  San  Luis  Rey  while 
Turner  was  still  there.  After  Cooke  showed  him  the  letter,  Turner  concluded 
that  JCF  did  not  really  intend  to  execute  Kearny's  orders  and  set  out  imme- 
diately for  Monterey  to  inform  the  general  of  that  fact.  Although  he  stopped 
at  Los  Angeles,  he  did  not  call  upon  JCF,  and,  much  to  his  surprise,  the 
explorer  made  his  appearance  in  Monterey  on  25  March,  the  day  after  Turner 
arrived  (enclosure  7,  same  file;  Henry  S.  Turner  to  Julia  Turner,  31  March 
1847,  TURNER,  161-62). 

1.  William  N.  Loker,  who  had  become  JCF's  adjutant  after  Talbot's  de- 
parture for  Washington  on  25  Feb.  with  dispatches,  had  been  assigned  the 
task  of  going  to  Mission  San  Gabriel  to  determine  if  any  members  of  the 
California  Battalion  wished  to  be  mustered  into  U.S.  service — as  outlined  by 
orders  no.  2  of  the  10th  Military  Department.  None  desired  to  make  the 
change,  but  Cooke  doubted  "that  steps  were  taken  to  allow  the  men  of  that 
battalion  to  decide  knowingly."  He  looked  upon  them  generally  as  "good 
Citizens;  but  cruelly  and  studiously  misguided  and  deceived"  (Cooke  to 
Turner,  25  March  1847,  enclosure  F  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  3  May  1847, 
DNA-94,  LR,  K-202  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 


161.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  to  Fremont 

Monterey  March  16,  1847 
Lieut.  Col.  }.  C.  Fremont 

I  wrote  to  you  by  Juan  Flaco^  and  by  Mr.  Knight,  to  which  I  have 
no  answer  to  this  date. 

I  have  taken  the  deed  from  Alvarado  for  the  ten  or  eleven  leagues 
of  land."  The  drafts  sent  to  Oahu  allowing  the  discount  will  cover 
the  sale. 

Mr.  Green^  is  obliged  to  go  South  to  see  Commodore  Stockton, 
and  yourself  to  settle  his  account.  He  has  borrowed  at  two  per  cent, 
per  month  over  six  thousand  dollars  in  cash.  He  can  go  no  farther 
in  his  business  until  he  can  recover  some  part  of  his  claims.  You  will 
oblige  us  both  by  assisting  him.  Hoping  to  see  you  soon  I  do  not 
write  much  at  present.  I  regret  exceedingly  that  former  Government 
arrangements  cannot  be  carried  out.^  I  hear  very  favourable  reports 
of  your  gaining  popularity  among  the  Californians.^  You  have  acted 
as  Governor  of  California,  and  you  will  so  be  known  by  the  United 
States  at  large,  and  although  the  time  was  short,  it  will  be  of  future 
service  to  you  in  the  public  opinion.  More  of  these  affairs  when  we 
meet.  I  am  Your  Obdt.  Servant. 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 

Printed  in  larkin,  6:59. 

1.  Popularly  known  as  Juan  Flaco,  John  Brown  (ca.  1800-1859),  a  Swedish 
emigrant  to  California  in  1828,  often  served  as  a  courier  to  Los  Angeles, 
Monterey,  and  San  Diego.  He  made  a  fast  and  dramatic  ride  from  Los 
Angeles  to  San  Francisco  in  Sept.  1846  with  Gillespie's  urgent  appeal  for 
aid,  and  he  probably  carried  one  of  Kearny's  letters  to  JCF  before  the  latter's 
arrival  in  Los  Angeles.  From  1853  until  his  death  he  was  employed  as  a 
vaquero  and  caretaker  on  the  ranch  of  Edward  W.  Howison,  sixty  miles 
northeast  of  Stockton  (dofflemyer). 

2.  A  reference  to  Larkin's  purchase  of  Las  Mariposas  for  JCF  from 
Alvarado  for  $3,000,  10  Feb.  1847. 

3.  Paul  Geddes  (1810-89),  a  defaulting  bank  clerk  in  Pennsylvania,  built 
a  new  career  in  California  under  the  name  Talbot  H.  Green.  In  the  1851 
campaign  for  the  mayoralty  of  San  Francisco,  he  was  recognized  and  de- 
nounced. In  1846  and  1847,  acting  as  Larkin's  agent,  he  furnished  a  large 
portion  of  the  supplies  purchased  by  the  California  Battalion  and  the  naval 
forces  at  Monterey.  From  17  Sept.  1846  to  Oct.  1847  he  served,  by  appoint- 
ment from  Capt.  William  Mervine,  as  collector  of  the  port  of  Monterey.  For 
an  article  on  Green,  see  hussey  [2], 

4.  A  reference  to  the  failure  of  the  council  to  meet  on  1  March,  and  an 
implication  that  all  the  arrangements  made  by  Stockton  for  the  governance 
of  the  territory  had  ceased,  including  JCF's  term  as  governor. 

5.  JCF  had  indeed  ingratiated  himself  with  the  native  Californians.  He 
wore  a  sombrero  and  gave  gala  balls.  Marius  Duvall,  an  assistant  naval 
surgeon,  reported  a  rumor  that  some  Californians  had  offered  to  join  JCF 
and  fight  General  Kearny  (duvall,  93). 

162.  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  to  Fremont 

Monterey  March  16,  1847 
Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 

I  think  it  would  save  you  and  the  paymaster  some  trouble,  by  giv- 
ing to  Mr.  Green  a  draft  of  large  amount,  and  he  undertake  to  pay 
off  the  Riflemen,  and  others,  when  in  funds.  Mr.  Green,  should  he 
meet  you,  will  offer  some  plan  of  arrangement  to  this  effect.  I  re- 
main, Yours  Sincerely, 

(Signed)  Thomas  O.  Larkin 

Printed  in  larkin,  6:59. 

163.  Citizens  of  Los  Angeles  to  Fremont 

[Los  Angeles] 
[18  March  1847] 
Mr.  Juan  C.  Fremont,  General  Commander  and 
Governor  of  California 

The  undersigned,  with  the  knowledge  that  you  are  ready  to  depart 
for  Monterrey  and  convinced  that  this  step  is  not  only  not  advisable 
but  also  highly  jeopardizes  the  security  of  the  populations  in  the 
southern  part  of  the  country,  we  therefore  can  do  no  less  than  to  beg 
of  you  to  desist  for  now  from  your  departure  for  the  following  rea- 

The  country  has  just  emerged  from  a  dangerous  crisis  and  resents 


the  events,  therefore  it  is  no  wonder  that  ahhough  secret,  the  resent- 
ments that  caused  the  previous  subversions  still  last. 

The  most  important  aspect  to  which  you  must  direct  your  political 
effort  is  toward  these  populations;  they  have  suffered  infinite  troubles 
and  they  were  [in]  the  original  theater  [of  events]  and  the  evils  of 
war  still  are  alive  and  if  to  so  grave  a  circumstance  he  turns  his  back, 
the  one  who  with  tact  has  known  how  to  calm  the  worries  and  find 
the  ways  toward  a  national  peace,  things  may  arrive  at  a  pitiful  situa- 
tion for  which  you  are  responsible. 

It  is  not  our  purpose  to  question  the  reasons  found  by  the  "jefes" 
who  are  in  Monterrey  for  issuing  with  such  latitude  the  decree  signed 
the  first  of  the  current  March,  which  right  we  reserve  for  ourselves; 
but  we  want  to  point  out  that  the  effect  of  your  departure  from  this 
city  might  have  as  a  result  consequences  that  are  not  easy  to  see  from 
the  beaches  of  Monterrey. 

You  have  managed  to  gain  the  confidence  of  all  this  neighbor- 
hood, they  are  happy  with  your  vigilance  and  enthusiasm  to  keep 
good  order,  and  for  all  these  reasons  it  is  important  in  our  circum- 
stances to  make  use  of  the  occasion  to  amalgamate  the  good  will  in 
order  to  avoid  public  calamity. 

With  sincerity  we  express  our  opinions  to  you  and  we  do  not  doubt 
that  pursuing  the  happy  ending  of  events,  you  will  take  into  consid- 
eration our  just  observations. 

Therefore  we  ask  that  you  remain  in  this  city  and  that  you  consult 
with  the  appropriate  people  about  the  best  ways  of  achieving  se- 

Thus  we  beg  of  you  and  we  hope  to  be  obliged  swearing  as  to  the 
sincerity  of  the  stated  matter. 

City  of  Los  Angeles,  Capital  of  California,  the  18  of  March  1847. 
Signed^  B.  D.  Wilson,  Abel  Stearns,  Alejandro  Bell,  Eulogio  Celis, 
John  Temple,  Plenio  F.  Temple,  Luis  [Buchet?],  John  Keys,  John 
Atkinson,  Franco.  [Francisco]  Figueroa,  Caspar  [Osante?],  [Pru- 
don?],  William  Wolfskill,  Lemuel  Carpenter,  Dobson,  Jordan  Pa- 
checo,  L.  Rubideau  [Robidoux],  Thomas  A.  Sanchez,  Jacildo  Aguilar, 
Julian  Chavez,  Jn.  Luis  Vignes,  Juan  Bandini,  Miguel  Pryor. 

AL,  translation  of  a  draft  in  CSmH. 

L  The  names  listed  are  not  holograph  signatures.  A  clean  copy  of  this 
draft,  but  with  no  names  attached,  is  also  in  CSmH. 


164.  Fremont  to  William  Workman 

Angeles,  March  20th  '47 
My  dear  Sir, 

I  had  the  pleasure  to  receive  a  few  minutes  since  a  letter  from  Mr. 
Wilson,^  acquainting  me  with  the  regret  felt  by  the  people  at  my 
departure, — and  the  farther  gratification  to  learn  from  him  that  you 
had  been  kind  enough  to  express  your  entire  approbation  of  my  offi- 
cial conduct  and  your  confidence  in  the  success  of  the  measures 
which  I  had  adopted  for  the  promotion  of  the  public  interest.  Being 
much  pressed  today  by  many  engagements  I  can  only  delay  to  thank 
you  for  your  friendly  disposition  to  me  and  to  acquaint  you  briefly 
with  my  object  in  visiting  the  northern  part  of  the  Territory. 

You  are  aware  that  in  the  performance  of  our  official  duties,  and  in 
the  exercise  of  our  discretion  as  the  legal  representatives  of  the 
United  States  in  this  remote  country.  Commodore  Stockton  and  my- 
self have  contracted  extensive  liabilities  and  become  responsible  for 
many  interests  which  it  will  be  difficult  for  new  authorities  to  sup- 
port, without  some  understanding  with  us.  You  will  also  readily 
understand  that  for  our  official  conduct  we  are  responsible  only  to 
our  government,  and  that  therefore  in  assuming  the  control  of  af- 
fairs here  General  Kearny  should  likewise  have  assumed  all  our  lia- 
bilities. I  have  therefore  decided  to  go  direcdy  to  Monterey  with  the 
view  of  requiring  as  an  act  of  common  justice  and  propriety,  due 
alike  to  my  own  character  and  that  of  the  government  I  have  repre- 
sented, that  this  assumption  of  our  responsibilities  be  made  by  my 
successor.  Without  this  assumption  it  is  impossible  that  I  should 
[make]  a  formal  delivery  or  transfer  of  the  government,  and  in  such 
an  event  I  shall  immediately  return  to  this  place  in  order  to  concert 
with  our  friends  on  such  measures  as  may  appear  advisable  in  such 
an  emergency.  I  trust  that  I  shall  then  receive  your  aid  and  counte- 
nance in  my  efforts  to  support  the  integrity  of  my  administration.  I 
am  with  much  respect  your  obedt.  servt. 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Mr.  William  Workman 
at  the  Puente 

ALS,   RC   (CU-B).   Addressed;   endorsed.   A   native   of  England,   William 
Workman  (1800-1876)  had  come  to  California  in   1841   from  New  Mexico, 

where  he  had  long  been  a  trader  at  Taos.  With  a  fellow  emigrant,  John 
Rowland,  he  was  granted  Rancho  La  Puente,  embracing  some  48,000  acres 
in  the  San  Gabriel  Valley.  Together  with  Juan  Avila  and  Eulogio  de  Cells, 
he  appeared  under  a  flag  of  truce  at  Stockton's  camp  on  10  Jan.,  indicating 
that  the  Angelenos  would  not  resist  American  reoccupation  if  promised  pro- 
tection and  kind  treatment.  Much  later  Workman  entered  the  banking  busi- 
ness in  Los  Angeles  with  his  son-in-law,  Francis  Pliny  F.  Temple;  the  failure 
of  the  enterprise  in  1876  ruined  the  fortunes  of  both. 

1.  See  Citizens  of  Los  Angeles  to  Fremont,  18  March  1847,  Doc.  No.  163. 

165.  William  H.  Russell  to  David  W.  Alexander 


21st  March  1847 

You  are  hereby  ordered  and  permitted  in  the  case  of  F.  Huttman 
[Hiittmann]^  to  receive  government  payment  in  payment  of  his  cus- 
tom house  duties."  Very  respectfully, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Governor  of  California 

Wm.  H.  Russell 
Sec  of  State 


David  W.  Alexander 

Collector  of  the  Port  of  San  Pedro 

N.B.  Mr.  Huttman  will  be  entitled  to  the  usual  discount  by  prompt 

W.  H.  R. 
J.  C.  Fremont 

ALS,  RC,  enclosure  11  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94, 
LR,  K-217  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Addressed;  endorsed.  Before  becoming 
collector  at  the  port  of  San  Pedro,  Irishman  David  W.  Alexander  had  been 
in  trade  in  New  Mexico  and  Los  Angeles.  He  acquired  the  ranchos  of  Tu- 
junga  and  Providencia  and  later  became  Los  Angeles  County  sheriff. 


1.  Francis  Hiittmann  was  master  and  supercargo  of  the  English  bark 

2.  "Government  payment"  referred  to  the  use  of  "due  bills"  from  the  pay- 
master and  quartermaster  of  the  California  Battalion  as  negotiable.  According 
to  Kearny,  these  were  bought  up  by  Hiittmann  at  25  or  30  percent  discount. 
As  collector,  Alexander  had  accepted  more  than  $1,700  in  this  form  of  paper 
before  receiving  Kearny's  order  to  honor  nothing  but  "Specie,  Treasury  Notes 
or  Drafts"  in  payment  of  customs  house  duties  (Kearny  to  David  W.  Alex- 
ander, 26  April  1847,  copy  enclosed  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  1  May  1847, 
DNA-94,  LR,  K-245  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Kearny  promised  Alexander  that 
since  he  was  led  into  the  mistake  by  the  error  of  others,  the  amount  he  had 
received  from  Hiittmann  would  be  passed  to  his  credit.  After  Kearny  left 
for  Washington,  Richard  B.  Mason  wrote  the  Adjutant  General  requesting 
that  JCF  be  required  to  refund  immediately  the  $1,700  that  the  Treasury 
of  California  had  thus  lost  by  his  "illegal  order"  (Mason  to  R.  Jones,  21  June 
1847,  DNA-94,  LR,  M-1113  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 

The  "due  bills"  which  David  W.  Alexander  had  received  were  invoiced  in 
Los  Angeles  on  13  May  1847  by  acting  assistant  quartermaster  Lieut.  John  W. 
Davidson  as  follows,  a  copy  of  which  may  be  found  as  enclosure  13  in  Kearny 
to  R.  Jones,  11  Sept.  1847  (DNA-94,  LR,  K-217  1847): 

One  due  bill,  signed  Arch.  H.  Gillespie,  endorsed  J.  C.  Fremont, 

in  favor  of  N.  M.  Pryor,  dated  March  27/47  for  $    500.00 

One  due  bill,  signed  P.  B.  Reading,  payr.  Cal.  Bat.  in  favor  of 

Michael  Foley,  dated  March  26/47  for  114.00 

One  due  bill,  signed  P.  B.  Reading,  payr.  Cal.  Bat.  in  favor  of 

John  W.  [  ]  dated  Feb.  23/47  for  182.00 

One  due  bill,  signed  P.  B.  Reading,  Payr.  Cal.  Bat.  in  favor  of 

William  D.  Miller,  dated  Feby.  23/47  for  256.54 

One  due  bill  signed  P.  B.  Reading,  Payr.  Cal.  Bat.  in  favor  of 

J.  R.  Snyder,  dated  March  14/47  for  100.00 

One  due  bill,  signed  P.  B.  Reading,  Payr.  Cal.  Bat.  in  favor  of 

J.  P.  Long,  dated  March  8th/47  for  16.37i 

One  due  bill,  signed  P.  B.  Reading,  Payr.  Cal.  Bat.  in  favor  of 

John  Hoit.  dated  Feby  24/47  for  52.27 

One  due  bill,  signed  J.  R.  Snyder  QMr.  in  favor  of  Henry  King, 

dated  March  5/47  for  30.00 

One   due   bill,   signed   J.   R.   Snyder   Q   Mr.   in   favor   of   John 

Dobenbliss,  dated  Feby.  12/47  for  105.00 

One  due  bill  signed  J.  R.  Snyder  Q  Mr.  in  favor  of  Maj.  Henry 

King,  Comm.  Cal.  Bat.  dated  Mar.  26/47  for  248.07 

One  due  bill,  signed   J.   R.  Snyder  Q  Mr.   in   favor  of  Henry 

King,  dated  March  15/47  for  40.00 

One  due  bill,  signed   J.  R.  Snyder  Or.  Mr.   in   favor  of   John 

Dobenbliss  dated  Feby.  22/47  for  55.00 

One  due  bill,  signed  J.  R.  Snyder  Qr.  Mr.  in  favor  of  Edwin 

Bryant,  dated  Jany.  28/47  for  15.00 

One  due  bill,  signed   J.   R.  Snyder  Q  Mr.   in   favor  of  Lieut. 

Hiram  Rheusaw,  dated  March  9/47  for  16.50 

Am't.     $1731.4U 


166.   Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Richard  B.  Mason 

Head  Qrs.  10th  Mil.  Dist. 
Monterey,  March  27th  1847 

You  will  proceed  to  the  Southern  Military  District  of  this  Terri- 
tory, and  inspect  the  troops  in  that  quarter.  You  are  hereby  clothed 
with  full  authority  to  give  such  orders  and  instructions  in  that  coun- 
try, upon  all  matters  whatever,  both  civil  and  military,  as  in  your 
judgement,  you  may  think  conducive  to  the  public  interest.  You 
will  then  return  to  this  place.  I  am  Sir  very  respectfully  &c.^ 

(Signed)  S.  W.  Kearny 
Brig  Genl.  &c 
Gov.  of  Califa. 
Col.  R.  B.  Mason 
1st  Dragoons 

Copy  of  enclosure  A  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  3  May  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-202  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Endorsed.  On  13  Feb.  Richard  B.  Mason 
(1797-1850),  a  colonel  in  the  1st  Dragoons,  had  arrived  ill  in  San  Francisco 
on  the  Erie,  a  naval  storeship  commanded  by  the  brother  of  Henry  S.  Turner. 
A  descendant  of  a  prominent  Virginia  family,  he  had  brought  out  the  dis- 
patches from  Washington  which  clearly  made  Kearny  military  and  civil 
governor  of  California,  a  position  to  which  Mason  was  to  succeed  in  June. 

1.  Kearny's  order  to  Mason  came  after  an  interview  with  JCF  on  the 
previous  day  at  the  general's  headquarters  in  Monterey.  Accompanied  by  his 
Negro  servant,  Jacob  Dodson,  and  Jose  de  Jesus  Pico,  JCF  had  ridden  from 
Los  Angeles  to  Monterey  in  three  days,  ten  hours.  As  the  distance  was  then 
estimated  at  400  miles,  much  of  it  through  mountainous  country,  the  trip  was 
regarded  as  quite  a  feat.  Reputedly,  JCF  covered  125  miles  on  each  of  two  days, 
exchanging  nine  tired  mounts  for  eight  fresh  ones  at  Pico's  San  Luis  Obispo 
home.  He  made  the  journey,  JCF  said,  to  warn  Kearny  of  a  possible  new  in- 
surrection in  the  south  and  to  determine  whether  the  general  would  honor  the 
fiscal  commitments  he  had  made  as  governor  under  Stockton's  appointment 
(cT.  MARTIAL,  422).  Kearny  testified  that  he  had  no  recollection  of  JCF's 
asking  that  he  assume  the  government's  responsibilities.  JCF  was  not  pleased 
with  the  interview  nor  with  the  presence  of  Mason  as  a  witness  but,  upon 
reflection,  finally  indicated  that  he  would  obey  Kearny  as  his  superior  officer 
because,  as  he  later  stated  in  his  own  defense,  he  believed  there  was  on  foot 
a  design  to  depose  him  "by  force  and  violence"  from  the  governorship  of 
California  (ct.  martial,  106-7,  422-23).  During  the  interview  JCF  also 
ofTered  to  resign  his  commission,  which  Kearny  refused,  and  on  that  after- 
noon— 20   March — the   explorer   began    the    ride   back   to    Los    Angeles.   The 


Californian,  27  March  1847,  printed  some  of  the  details  of  the  epic  ride;  after 
JCF's  court-martial  began,  the  National  Intelligencer,  22  Nov.  1847,  gave  an 
account  to  its  readers,  acknowledging  that  the  details  provided  by  Dodson 
had  been  revised  by  JCF. 

167.   Stephen  Watts  Kearny  to  Fremont 

Head  Qrs.  10th  Mil.  Dept. 
Monterey,  Califa.  March  28.  1847. 

This  will  be  handed  to  you  by  Col.  Mason,  1st  Dragoons,  who 
goes  to  the  Southern  Military  District,  clothed  by  me  with  full  au- 
thority to  give  such  orders  and  instructions  upon  all  matters  both 
civil  and  military  in  that  section  of  country,  as  he  may  deem  proper 
and  necessary.^  Any  instructions  he  may  give  to  you,  will  be  con- 
sidered as  coming  from  myself. 

I  deem  it  proper  to  suggest  to  you,  that  should  there  be  at  the 
Pueblo  any  unsettled  accounts  or  demands  against  the  Government, 
incurred  by  your  orders  or  approval,  which  you  may  not  have  al- 
ready authenticated  and  completed  for  the  action  of  the  Disbursing 
Officers,  that  you  at  once  do  so,  as  it  may  be  necessary  for  you  to  pro- 
ceed from  here  to  Washington — and  should  there  be  any  of  the  Party 
which  accompanied  you  from  Missouri  still  with  you  and  under  pay 
from  the  Topographical  Department,  you  will  cause  them  to  come 
to  this  place,  that  they  may  be  returned  home  and  discharged  and  be 
of  no  further  expense  to  the  U.  States,  unless  they  prefer  being  dis- 
charged at  once  in  this  country. 

In  12  days  after  you  have  embarked  the  Volunteers  at  San  Pedro, 
I  desire  to  see  you  in  this  place.  Very  respectfully  Your  Ob.  Servt. 

(Signed)  S.  W.  Kearny 
Brig.  Genl.  &  Gov.  of  Califa. 
Lieut.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 
Regt.  of  Mounted  Riflemen 
Commdg.  Battn.  Califa.  Vols. 

Copy  of  enclosure  B  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  3  May  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-202  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Endorsed. 


1.  Mason  sailed  on  28  March  and  reached  Los  Angeles  early  in  April  (see 
Doc.  No.  168). 

168.  Richard  B.  Mason  to  Fremont 

Pueblo  de  los  Angeles 
April  5th.  1847 

I  have  just  arrived  at  this  place  and  am  at  the  house  of  Mr.  Pryor/ 
where  I  request  the  pleasure  of  seeing  you  this  evening."  Very  Re- 
spectfully Yr.  Obt.  Servt. 

(Signed)  R.  B.  Mason 
Col.  1st  Dragoons 

Copy  of  enclosure  in  R.  B.  Mason  to  H.  S.  Turner,  10  April  1847,  which 
is  in  turn  enclosure  D  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  3  May  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-202  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846).  Endorsed:  "Reed.  April  22d.  1847." 

1.  The  home  of  Nathaniel  M.  Pryor,  a  Kentucky  silversmith  and  clock- 
maker,  was  south  of  the  Plaza  between  First  and  Commercial  streets.  Pryor 
had  come  to  California  in  1828  and  operated  a  vineyard. 

2.  The  interviews  between  Mason  and  JCF  were  conducted  in  the  presence 
of  Cooke.  On  6  April  Mason  and  JCF  rode  out  to  the  Mission  San  Gabriel 
to  see  the  California  Battalion.  The  troops  were  paraded,  and  Mason  re- 
ported to  Kearny  that  none  were  willing  to  continue  in  the  service  under  the 
laws  of  May  and  June  1846;  furthermore,  the  soldiers  claimed  a  right  to  be 
discharged  at  Los  Angeles  (Mason  to  Turner,  10  April  1847,  DNA-94,  K-202 
1847,  enclosure  D  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  3  May  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 

169.   Fremont  to  Richard  B.  Mason 

Angeles  April  7th  1847 


Agreeably  to  your  directions^  I  enclose  the  names  of  those  men  be- 
longing to  the  Cal.  Battalion,  whose  term  of  service  is  unexpired. 
You  u^ill  find  appended  a  note  from  the  Adjutant  relative  to  the 
terms  on  which  they  enlisted.  The  refusal  of  the  Volunteers  to  reen- 
list  or  to  be  mustered  into  service,  rendering  it  impossible  to  comply 


with  the  orders  of  General  Kearny,  it  would  perhaps  be  advisable 
that  I  receive  from  yourself  an  order  relative  to  my  further  pro- 

I  enclose  a  memorandum  of  what  I  supposed  yesterday  to  be  your 
desire  in  the  circumstances,  and  which  according  to  the  terms  of  the 
contract  with  me  will  be  the  readiest  method  of  closing  their  con- 
nections with  the  U.  States.  Very  Respectfully  Your  Obt.  Servt. 


Col.  R.  B.  Mason 

1st  Dragoons,  U.S.  Army 


Benjamin  Wrighter  Co.  A.  Feby.  1st  . 

Luther  Perkms  "    "      "      15  . 

William  Belly  "    B    Jany.  28  . 


C.H.Smith  "   E   Feb.    1st  . 

L.  D.  Vincenhaler 

[Lorenzo  D. 

D.  L.  Lytton 

[D.  S.  Litten] 
John  Gard 
Charles  Gard 
B.  A.  Reed' 
Jacob  Bonsell 
Hiram  Brock 
James  Reese  [Rees] 
J.  W.  Johnson 
Jos.  O.  Donne 


J.  D.  Spitler 
J.  M.  Roberts 

(Signed)  J.  C.  Fremont 
Lt.  Col.  U.  S.  Army 

Compy.  A.  Artillery 
V.  Weaver         Jan  27th 
H.  Sanders 

D.H.  [S.] 

Carriger  "      " 

B.  E.  Kellog         "      " 

F.  Giggsby 

P.  Raymond 
W.  McDonnel 
J.  Greenwood 
A.  J.  Loper 
D.  Harsh 
S.  Carriger 
W.  Bennett 

G.  Carr 


B.[T.?]  Painter  " 

Wm.  Wood 

J.  H.  Kellogg^^     " 


Agreeably  to  your  Order  I  enclose  a  list  of  names  of  men  belonging 
to  the  Cal.  Battalion  whose  terms  are  unexpired.  These  men  were 
reenlisted  with  the  understanding  that  when  their  services  were  no 
longer  thought  necessary  by  your  self  they  should  be  discharged  and 
permitted  to  return  to  their  homes.  Very  Respectfully  Your  Obt. 


(Signed)  Wm.  N.  Loker 
Adj.  Cal.  Batd. 

Lt.  Col.  Fremont 
Comdg.  Cal.  Battn. 
Angeles,  April  7th  1847 

Will  Col.  Mason  give  an  order  to  Lt.  Col.  Fremont  to  discharge  the 
California  Battalion  on  such  terms  as  his  contract  with  the  men  calls 
for— that  of  $25  per  month— and  also  to  provide  transportation  for 
such  as  may  require  it,  from  the  place  of  discharge  to  the  place  of 

Copy  of  enclosure  in  R.  B.  Mason  to  H.  S.  Turner,  10  April  1847,  which 
is  a  part  of  enclosure  D  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  3  May  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-202  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 

1.  Probably  an  allusion  to  Mason's  letter  of  6  April  1847,  not  found,  re- 
ferred to  again  in  Mason  to  Fremont,  9  April  1847,  Doc.  No.  179;  it  is  pos- 
sible that  Mason's  directions  were  given  orally. 

2.  As  transcription  of  the  document  was  difficult,  what  appear  to  be  the 
correct  names  or  initials  are  given  in  brackets.  Unless  specifically  noted,  all 
names  are  Usted  in  one  of  three  sources:  rogers  [3];  pioneer  register; 
"Receipt  Roll"  of  Companies  A,  B,  C,  D,  E,  and  F,  California  Battalion, 
item  137,  and  Appendix  D  of  the  snyder  calendar. 

3.  B.  A.  Reed  and  J.  H.  Kellogg  are  not  listed  in  any  of  the  above  sources. 

170.   Richard  B.  Mason  to  Fremont 

Pueblo  de  los  Angeles 
April  7.  1847 


The  term  of  service  of  the  Battalion  of  California  Volunteers  (with 
a  few  individual  exceptions)  having  already  expired,  and  as  they 
now  claim  to  be  discharged  from  the  service  at  their  present  position, 


on  the  ground,  as  well  as  on  the  pledge  which,  you  yesterday  in- 
formed me,  was  made  to  them  by  yourself,  at  the  time  of  raising  the 
Corps,  to  induce  them  to  enter  the  service:  Viz  "that  they  should  be 
discharged  when  the  country  was  quiet  at  any  time  &  place  they 
should  demand  it,  even  though  the  term  of  service  for  which  they 
were  engaged  might  not  have  expired."  That  this  promise  was  made 
to  them  under  the  circumstances  it  was,  may  be  kept  in  good  faith, 
you  are  relieved  from  so  much  of  the  execution  of  Department  Or- 
ders No.  2  of  the  1st  March  1847,  as  requires  you  to  march  them  to 
Yerba  Buena.  You  will  therefore  be  pleased  to  "muster  them  out  of 
service"  at  once  at  their  present  Cantonement. 

The  Naval  Officers  now  serving  with  your  Battalion,  you  will  im- 
mediately relieve  from  duty,  and  order  them  to  repair  to  Monterey 
and  report  to  Commodore  Biddle. 

I  had  just  written  the  foregoing  when  I  received  your  letter  of 
today  &  its  enclosures.  The  Volunteers  having  claimed  to  be  dis- 
charged at  their  present  post,  I  cannot  order  any  transportation  to  be 
furnished  in  kind  to  them  from  the  place  of  discharge  to  the  place 
of  Enlistment,  further  than  to  say  that  the  Sloop  of  war,  Warren, 
Capt.  Hull,  now  at  San  Pedro,  will  take  to  Yerba  Buena  as  many  as 
one  hundred — the  ship  cannot  accommodate  a  greater  number.  I 
have  no  instructions  to  give  touching  your  contract  with  the  men  so 
far  as  it  relates  to  their  pay.  That  the  Warren  may  not  be  unneces- 
sarily detained  at  her  present  anchorage  which  is  an  exposed  one, 
those  who  go  in  her  must  be  embarked  on  Friday  next,  &  I  desire 
that  you  conduct  them  to  the  ship  yourself,  taking  care  to  have  prop- 
erly noted  on  the  rolls  those  who  take  passage  in  her.  Horses  &  Horse 
Equipage  will  be  furnished  the  Topographical  party,  that  the  Gen- 
eral requires  you  to  take  to  Monterey,  from  those  now  in  possession 
of  your  Battalion.  All  other  Public  property  in  the  possession  of  your 
Corps  or  any  individual  thereof,  beyond  what  may  be  necessary  to 
mount  the  Topographical  party,  you  will  cause  to  be  turned  over  to 
Lt.  Davidson,'  1st  Dragoons  for  which  he  will  give  the  proper  re- 
ceipts. Any  further  answer  to  your  communication  has  been  antici- 
pated in  that  part  of  this  letter  written  before  its  reception.  Very 
Respectfully  Your  Obt.  Servt. 

(Signed)  R.  B.  Mason 
Col.  1st  Dragoons 
Lt.  Col.  J.  C.  Fremont 
U.  S.  Army  Comdg.  Cal.  Volunteers 


Copy  of  enclosure  in  R.  B.  Mason  to  H.  S.  Turner,  10  April  1847,  which 
is  a  part  of  enclosure  D  in  Kearny  to  R.  Jones,  3  May  1847  (DNA-94,  LR, 
K-202  1847,  f/w  K-209  1846). 

1.  Lieut.  John  Wynn  Davidson  (d.  1881),  later  brevet  brigadier  general, 
had  been  in  charge  of  the  two  howitzers  which  Kearny  had  brought  over 
mountain  and  desert  from  Santa  Fe  to  California.  Soon  after  Mason  wrote 
this  letter,  Davidson  became  acting  assistant  quartermaster  at  Los  Angeles. 

171.  Fremont  to  Richard  B.  Mason 

Angeles,  April  8th  1847 


Immediately  on  the  receipt  of  your  letter  of  yesterday,  I  sent  the 
Adjutant  to  San  Gabriel  with  your  permission  for  passage  of  the 
Troops  on  board  the  Warren,  but  up  to  this  time  have  received  no 
reply.  I  w^ill  send  an  officer  to  you  w^ith  the  first  intelligence